Another triumph of multiculturalism

Three would-be terrorists jailed for plotting Sydney army base attack

THREE would-be terrorists who plotted an armed attack on a Sydney army base remained defiant after they were jailed for 13 years today.

Justice Betty King told Wissam Fattal, 35, of Melbourne, Saney Edow Aweys, 28, of Carlton, and Nayef El Sayed, 27, of Glenroy they planned a horrific and evil attack on the Australian community. Justice King said it was troubling that none of the three had renounced their extreme Islamic views and they would remain a threat to the community even after they are released.

"None of you, not one, has recanted from any extremist view you held," said the judge. "The protection of the community remains a very significant factor."

In her Supreme Court sentence, Justice King said the planned attack on the Holsworthy army base would have resulted in the deaths of a number of innocent people.

Fattal, who has caused trouble consistently in court, had to be removed before the sentence commenced after he started shouting about "Jews, Palestine and Afghanistan". He was dragged out by security officers. At the end of the sentence El Sayed shouted "God is with us" as a woman wept hysterically in the public benches.

Justice King set maximum terms of 18 years. Almost a year after they were convicted, Fattal, Aweys and El Sayed faced justice.

Family members, friends and supporters of the trio packed the public benches and balcony of Supreme Court number three. As the men were led into court they laughed, waved and gestured to the supporters, looking completely unconcerned.

Their trial heard that Operation Martyrdom was planned to create mayhem at Sydney's lightly guarded Holsworthy army base, with the men using high-powered weapons to gun down as many army personnel as possible.

The Supreme Court jury, which convicted the trio but found two other men not guilty, deliberated for more than 45 hours after a marathon trial that lasted 12 weeks.

The jury heard the home-grown terror plot was designed to bring a fatwa down on Australia and it had its genesis in the seething anger among a small group of Muslim men, some of them refugees, over their belief Islam was under attack from the West. In secretly recorded conversations, the plotters, all of whom attended inner city mosques, talked of their contempt for Australians and their plans to take out "five, six, eight or 10" soldiers. Fattal was recorded saying:"If I find a way to kill the army, I'm gonna do it."

The men were found guilty of conspiring with each other and people unknown between February 1 and August 4, 2009 to do acts in preparation for, or planning a terrorist act or acts.

They were believed to be connected with the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab, and it was alleged the group tried to obtain a fatwa, or religious decree, justifying the attack.

The jury viewed CCTV footage of Fattal taking a train to the Holsworthy base and walking along a perimeter fence and towards the blockhouse at the front gate. Fattal later told his co-conspirators: "The work is easy".


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