[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 06:17 GMT
Australian loses terrorism appeal
A former Australian medical student accused of training with a militant group in Pakistan has lost an appeal to have the charges against him dropped.

Izhar Ul-Haque, 23, is accused of receiving combat training with the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba group.

He has pleaded innocent to the charge, and has also argued that he cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed abroad.

When he was arrested in April 2004, Mr Ul-Haque became the first Australian accused of such an offence.

Lashkar-e-Toiba was classed as a terrorist group in 2003, under Australia's toughened counter-terrorism laws brought in after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.

It is now a criminal offence for Australians to belong to, train with, fund or recruit members for a proscribed terror group.

'Extraordinary application'

Mr Ul-Haque had argued that Australia did not have the power to legislate on alleged criminal acts overseas.

His lawyers claimed the charges against him amounted to an "extraordinary extraterritorial application" of Australian legislation.

But New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Virginia Bell dismissed the appeal, ruling that the charges were constitutional.

She said it should be up to the jury to find whether Mr Ul-Haque was a member of Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Because the government only banned Lashkar-e-Toiba in November 2003 - after Mr Ul-Haque's alleged training - the prosecution must prove that the group was preparing to commit a terrorist act at the time of his involvement.

Ms Bell said a trial date would be set on 3 March. If convicted, Mr Ul-Haque could face a maximum of 25 years in jail.

Another Australian, Pakistan-born Faheem Khalid Lodhi, has also been charged with training with Lashkar-e-Toiba, and is expected to stand trial in March.

Investigators claim Mr Lodhi was planning an attack on "a major infrastructure facility" near Sydney.


SEE ALSO:
Australia's terror fears
23 Apr 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Australian man on terror charges
22 Apr 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Lashkar-e-Toiba
26 Aug 03 |  South Asia


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific