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3 ISIS-Inspired Men Sentenced for Australia Terror Plot

3 ISIS-Inspired Men Sentenced for Australia Terror Plot

Friday, 29 November, 2019 - 06:00
FILE PHOTO: A row of newly built apartment blocks is seen in the suburb of Epping, Sydney, Australia February 1, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Westbrook/File Photo

Three men were given lengthy prison sentences on Friday for an ISIS-inspired terror plot to cause mass casualties in Australia's second largest city Melbourne during the 2016 Christmas period.

Hamza Abbas, 24, Ahmed Mohamed, 27 and Abdullah Chaarani, 29, were found guilty last year of plotting to use machetes and homemade bombs to target major sites -- including a train station and a church -- in a December attack.

In handing down the sentences at the Supreme Court of Victoria, judge Christopher Beale said the men had been accessing online material supportive of ISIS and extremism in the lead-up to their arrest.

Beale said the men came to believe their planned "mass slaughter of innocent civilians" would be a "glorious act".

"The stupidity of that belief was only matched by its malevolence," Beale said.

Abbas, who was involved in the conspiracy for a shorter time, was jailed for 22 years with a non-parole period of 16 years and six months. Mohamed and Chaarani, who were facing their second terror charge, were jailed for 38 years.

Police uncovered the plot after monitoring the Australian-born men's phone conversations, text messages and emails, and all four were arrested on December 22, 2016.

During a plea hearing before Beale last month, Mohamed and Chaarani claimed they had renounced ISIS and had worked toward deradicalization since their arrest.

Then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called their plans "one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years".

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