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Last Updated: Friday, 18 August 2006, 08:00 GMT 09:00 UK
'Jihad Jack' conviction quashed
An Australian policeman during an anti-terror raid
Mr Thomas was convicted under new Australian anti-terror laws
An appeal court in Australia has quashed the conviction of a man known as Jihad Jack, who was convicted of receiving funds from al-Qaeda.

Muslim convert Joseph "Jack" Thomas was found guilty in February of accepting A$5,000 ($3,500) and a plane ticket from an al-Qaeda agent in Pakistan.

The former taxi driver was sentenced to five years in prison in March.

But the Victoria Court of Appeal ruled that some of the evidence used against him was not admissible at his trial.

Mr Thomas had appealed on the grounds that his interview with Australian Federal Police (AFP) while under detention in Pakistan was inadmissible.

His lawyers said that he had no legal representation, and had been pressured into a confession during two months in custody in Pakistan.

Camps

Mr Thomas was the first person to be convicted under new Australian anti-terror legislation adopted in October 2002.

In February, the Melbourne court also found him guilty of possessing a false passport, but cleared him of intentionally providing resources for al-Qaeda.

The prosecution had alleged that Mr Thomas trained in al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan before moving to Pakistan.

His lawyer said Mr Thomas, who is married and has three children, accepted the money and plane ticket because he wanted to return home.

Mr Thomas said he never had any intention of becoming an al-Qaeda operative.

It is not clear whether Mr Thomas will face a retrial.




SEE ALSO
'Jihad Jack' given five-year term
31 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
'Jihad Jack' guilty in Melbourne
26 Feb 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia split on new terror laws
09 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia suspects 'refusing food'
11 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia arrests stir terror debate
08 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia terror bill introduced
03 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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