It is a difficult ask to protect an entire country, any country, from the religious zealots who would commit mass murder in the name of their god. If you jump too soon to arrest would be jihadists there is every chance that there will be insufficient evidence to secure a conviction. Just the process of gathering evidence of such plots is difficult and fraught with concerns about violating the civil liberties of individuals who may have nothing to do with such villainy. However a Jury has considered the evidence in the Sydney trial and found all five defendants guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist act. which carries the potential of a life sentence .
They said firearms, ammunition, night vision goggles, maps and radios were to be used on hunting trips in western NSW, while the compasses were so the devout Muslims knew the direction of Mecca at prayer time.
Trips to Melbourne to visit a notorious Islamic religious teacher were for marriage guidance and help with an “exorcism”, they explained.
But after a 10-month trial, 300 witnesses, more than 3000 pieces of evidence, and almost five weeks of deliberations, a NSW Supreme Court jury has found five men from Sydney’s southwest guilty of plotting violent jihad on Australian soil.
So-called group leaders Khaled Cheikho, 36, and Mohamed Ali Elomar, 44, together with Moustafa Cheikho, 32, Abdul Rakib Hasan, 40, and 25-year-old Mohammed Omar Jamal were accused of plotting with each other and at least four other men between July 2004 and November 2005.
But lets not forget that along with the five just convicted there were four more conspirators who plead guilty, rather than contest the charges.
The four other men connected to the plot – Mazen Touma, Mirsad Mulahalilovic, Khaled Sharrouf and one man who cannot be named for legal reasons – pleaded guilty to acts in preparation for a terrorist act prior to the trial or earlier this year and have been sentenced.
As satisfying as I find it that our police services and prosecutors have won this case I can’t help wondering is these evil men will actually be given a sentence commensurate with the gravity of their evil plans. My guess is that they will only get between ten and fifteen years and released in less than that.
There seems to be a terrible moral vacuum within the Latte sipping mindset which thinks that to plan and prepare to commit an atrocity is a crime of much less magnitude than to actually do it. I think that it is just as evil and deserves a sanction of equal value.
Ah well, we will all have to wait until these men are sentenced in December…