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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 05:52 GMT
'Jihad Jack' guilty in Melbourne
A police officer in Australia
Police have detained 24 men under Australian anti-terror laws
An Australian man known as "Jihad Jack" has been convicted of receiving funds from al-Qaeda.

Jack Thomas, a Muslim convert, was found guilty of accepting $3,500 (2,000) and a plane ticket home from an al-Qaeda agent in Pakistan.

A Melbourne court heard that Thomas had visited al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan shortly before the 9/11 attacks.

He is the first Australian to be charged under laws on the funding of terrorism passed in 2002.

'No terrorist'

The 32-year-old former taxi driver could face up to 25 years in jail when he is sentenced by the Supreme Court in the next few days.

He was also found guilty of possessing a false passport, but he was found not guilty of intentionally providing resources for al-Qaeda.

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

Thomas, who is married and has three children, was arrested in November 2004 upon his return to Australia.

He says he accepted the money and plane ticket because he wanted to return home and had no intention of becoming an al-Qaeda operative.

Despite the conviction, his lawyers were pleased he was acquitted of the more serious charges relating to supporting a terrorist organisation.

"As we have always known, Jack had nothing to answer for with these charges," said his father, Ian.

Thomas is one of 24 men charged under anti-terror legislation introduced in Australia in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Jack Thomas being led away from court



SEE ALSO:
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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