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Trio accused of plot to attack army base denied bail Milanda Rout | August 27, 2009 Article from: The Australian
THREE men accused of planning a terror attack on the Holsworthy army base in Sydney have been denied bail.
Melbourne magistrate Peter Reardon said this afternoon that Saney Edow Aweys, Nayef El Sayed and Yacub Khayre had not demonstrated the exceptional circumstances required to be released on bail.
The three men have been charged with conspiring to plan a terrorist attack. Mr Aweys also faces charges of preparing to go to Somalia to engage in conflict and helping another man travel there to fight in the civil war.
Two other men, Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed and Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, have also been charged over the terror plot but did not apply for bail.
Four of the five men were arrested in Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police dawn raids on 19 properties in Melbourne on August 4.
Lawyers or the men had argued during the four-day bail hearing that their clients were in lockdown for 18 hours a day at the state's highest secure unit at Barwon Prison and they faced significant delay of two years before their trial would be heard.
They also argued the case against the three men was not strong.
Mr Reardon said he was not persuaded that the evidence presented by the prosecution and the Australian Federal Police was weak but did say he was concerned about the onerous jail conditions.
“The present conditions I have to say is not desirable for men awaiting trial,” he said.
A lawyer has accused police of embellishing the case against a group of Melbourne men accused of plotting an attack on the Holsworthy army base in Sydney.
The comments were made outside court after a magistrate refused bail for three of the men.
Nayef el Sayed, Yacqub Khayre and Saney Aweys, along with two co-accused, are charged with conspiring to attack the army base earlier this month.
The three accused terrorists waved and smiled at their families after the magistrate announced the decision.
Outside court, defence lawyer Rob Stary accused prosecutors of exaggerating the case against the men.
"There was no imminent terrorist attack," Mr Stary said.
Because they face terrorism offences, the accused had to prove to the court there were exceptional circumstances that warranted their release.
The magistrate said they failed that test and he was not persuaded the case was weak.
Counter-terrorism agents told the court the case was largely based on recorded conversations between the men, but defence lawyers said the evidence was vague and ambiguous.
"There's a sophisticated and calculated attack against the authorities to overstate, embellish and exaggerate cases," Mr Stary said.
The court also heard the men were being kept in the high security unit at Barwon prison.
The defence argued prisoners who have not been convicted should not be housed in such conditions.
"The prosecution conceded that the conditions the men are kept in might not be ideal, but they argued that the prison regime is lawful and that it doesn't amount to exceptional circumstances," he said.
The accused men have indicated they will fight the terrorism charges.
It is expected they will appeal against today's bail decision.
Terror bail fight heads to top court Adrian Lowe August 28, 2009
THREE men accused of plotting a terrorist attack will take their fight for bail to the Supreme Court, claiming they are being held in Guantanamo Bay-style conditions.
In the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday, magistrate Peter Reardon said that while the custody arrangements for the men were ''not desirable'', he was unable to grant bail because it had not been shown there were exceptional circumstances for the men's release.
Saney Aweys, 26, Yacqub Khayre, 22, and Nayef El Sayed, 25, have each been charged with one count of plotting a suicide attack on Holsworthy army base in NSW.
Aweys' lawyer, Rob Stary, slammed the case against the men, saying the men were being held in conditions at Barwon Prison, near Geelong, which he claimed were akin to the notorious US military prison at Guantanamo Bay. ''We are disappointed [bail was not granted], particularly in the context of this case being yet another example of the sort of embellishment and overstatement and exaggeration that the authorities engage in,'' Mr Stary, who has been involved in previous terrorism cases, said outside court.
''The case that was put before the court was completely different at the time of the arrest of the accused. There was no imminent terrorist attack.
''For unconvicted, innocent people, they are Guantanamo Bay-style conditions.''
Under the law, terrorism charges require the defence to establish that exceptional circumstances exist before bail can be granted.
In handing down his decision on bail after a four-day application, Mr Reardon said: ''These men are effectively treated as convicted men by being placed in [Barwon Prison's] Acacia Unit.
''They are placed with men who have been found guilty of committing the most heinous crimes … even though these men are innocent until proven otherwise. The current conditions are not desirable for men yet to face trial.''
Mr Reardon said the charges were serious. ''The conspiracy, if it were to come to fruition, would have potentially involved significant loss of life,'' he said.
Two other men were charged following the raids, 33-year-old Wissam Fattal and Abdirahman Ahmed, 25, of Preston.
Ahmed was also listed to apply for bail this week but his lawyers withdrew the application on Monday. Last night, lawyer Bill Doogue said Ahmed would apply for bail at a later date.
The prosecution had opposed bail on the grounds that even if the men posed a small risk of reoffending and to community safety, the risk was too great.
The next scheduled court date for the five men is for a committal mention in October. It has been indicated the men will plead not guilty.
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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Kenya 'freed Australian terror suspect by mistake'
Kenyan police freed an Australian terrorism suspect mistakenly believing he was just an illegal immigrant, the force has told the BBC.
Spokesman Eric Kiraithe said Hussein Hashi Farah was handed to ordinary police rather than specialist officers because of "an oversight".
Mr Farah apparently then reassured police he would appear in court for an immigration hearing, and was set free.
He is wanted for allegedly planning an attack in Australia in 2009.
Mr Kiraithe told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that there was "credible information" linking him to the terror plot, but gave no further details.
Last year, a group of ethnic Somalis were arrested in Melbourne amid reports they had links to the Islamist rebel group al-Shabab and were planning attacks in Australia.
Mr Farah, who reportedly is of Somali origin, was detained while crossing the border into Kenya from Uganda earlier this month.
Mr Kiraithe said officials checking his details found him on an international terrorism watch list.
"I think there was an oversight - he was handed over to the ordinary duty policemen and they were not given the full information," he said.
"The matter is still under investigation, although the officer who released believes that he released him in an honest and mistaken belief that he was just an illegal migrant who would be dealt with by CID and immigration the following day."
Mr Kiraithe admitted it was highly embarrassing for the Kenyan police, but said that no foreign governments had yet complained over the matter.
Three men who believed Islam was under threat from western nations have been found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack against a Sydney army base.
Australian Muslims found guilty of terror plot
Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed (left) and Yacqub Khayre leave the Supreme Court in Melbourne after being found not guilty Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
By Bonnie Malkin in Sydney 7:00AM GMT 23 Dec 2010
Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 34, Saney Edow Aweys, 27, and Nayef El Sayed, 26 - all Australian citizens of Somali or Lebanese origin - were convicted in the Victorian Supreme Court of conspiring to plot a suicide attack on the Holsworthy base, and could face life in prison. Two other men, Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed, 26, and Yacqub Khayre, 23, were found not guilty of the same charge.
As jurors left the court following the verdict, Fattal said: "Islam is truth religion. Thank you very much."
During the three month trial, the court heard that the men had planned to shoot as many people as possible during the attack as revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prosecutors said Aweys had described Australians as "infidels" and said the 2009 Black Saturday bush fires, which killed 173 people, were punishment from Allah.
In one encounter with an undercover officer, Fattall said: "If I find way to kill the army, I swear to Allah the great I'm going to do it."
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18 years' jail for army terror-attack plan Andrea PetrieDecember 16, 2011 - 1:42PM
Three Muslim extremists convicted of conspiring to plan an Australian terrorist attack have been sentenced to each serve 18 years' jail.
The men were part of an Islamic terrorist cell who were planning to attack the Holsworthy army barracks in Sydney's south-west.
Their aim was to enter the barracks armed with military weapons and shoot 500 personnel, or as many people as possible, before they were killed or ran out of ammunition.
Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, Saney Edow Aweys and Nayef El Sayed, who had all met at the Preston Mosque, had weapons when they were arrested in August 2009.
The men were connected to the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab, and tried to obtain a fatwa, or religious decree, justifying the attack.
Fattal was covertly videoed walking along the perimeter fence at the army base in what the jury, based on their verdict, believed was in preparation for an attack.
The jury found them guilty following a trial lasting more than five months in which multiple listening devices were played outlining their plan and detailing their extreme religious and political views.
They also had an expressed hatred of Australian people and non-Muslims, who they repeatedly referred to as "infidels".
Fattal, Justice Betty King said, appeared to be the "most dogmatic" among them, acknowledging he was "simple man" with low intelligence and whose cognitive impairment would not have been helped at all by his participation for many years in the sport kickboxing, during which he suffered multiple concussions.
He was also fixed and rigid in his religious views.
But the judge said each of the men was a willing participant in the terrorist plot. They also all believed in martyrdom.
In a packed Victorian Supreme Court today, Justice King ordered Fattal, 35, Aweys, 29, and El Sayed, 27, to serve a minimum of 13 years and six months before becoming eligible for parole.
Fattal, however, was ejected from the court as soon as the judge began her sentencing remarks following what was a garbled and difficult to understand verbal outburst.
"This is corruption," he yelled, pointing at Justice King, before she ordered prison guards to take him away, seemingly unsurprised by his behaviour.
On resuming her sentence, which lasted almost two hours, the judge described their crimes as "anticipatory offences" which were stopped by law enforcement authorities before they were carried out, only after undercover police successfully infiltrated the group.
The maximum sentence for the charge of conspiring to plan a terrorist attack is life imprisonment.
Two other men were acquitted by the jury of their involvement in the plot.
Justice King said despite being given the opportunity, none of the trio had recanted their extremist views.
"Each of you remains a danger to the community," Justice King said.
She described their plan as "deadly serious" and "evil". She said it would have been a "totally horrific" event, had it have ever come to pass in a country that had given them and their families opportunities.
The men should all "hang your heads in shame", she said, describing their level of operating as "amateurish" and the plan they were hatching as "far from sophisticated".
Fattal, formerly of Melbourne, has already served 989 days since his arrest, while Aweys, of Carlton, and El Sayed, from Glenroy, have served 864 pre-sentence detention.
The men will serve their jail time in protective custody for behavioural and other reasons.
A relative yelled "oh my God" and several women wept after the sentence was handed down.