Court rejects appeal of five terrorists in Australia

Five members of a Sydney terrorist cell will remain behind bars after a court here on Friday dismissed their appeals filed against convictions and sentences.

Sydney: Five members of a Sydney terrorist cell will remain behind bars after a court here on Friday dismissed their appeals filed against convictions and sentences.

Khaled Cheikho, Moustafa Cheikho, Mohamed Ali Elomar, Abdul Rakib Hasan, and Mohammed Omar Jamal are facing jail terms from 23 to 28 years for plotting terrorist attack in Sydney between July 2004 and November 2005.

They were among the nine men arrested in 2005 under Operation Pendennis, the largest counter-terrorism investigation undertaken in Australia.

In the New South Wales (NSW) Court of Criminal Appeal, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst announced the convictions for conspiracy to do an act in preparation for a terrorist act would stand, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

All five were found guilty by a jury in October 2009 following an 11-month trial conducted inside a specially built courtroom at the Sydney West Trial Courts in Parramatta, a suburb in Sydney.

During the trial, the court heard the men planned to use explosives or firearms to commit "extreme violence" to "instil terror and panic in the Australian community" and force the government to change its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The case was circumstantial, as no precise target had been selected, but the jury accepted the Crown`s argument that an attack could have been imminent at the time of their arrest in November 2005.

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