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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK
'Jihad Jack' given five-year term
An Australian policeman during an anti-terror raid
Thomas is the first to be convicted under new Australian anti-terror laws
An Australian man known as "Jihad Jack" has been sentenced to five years in prison for receiving funds from al-Qaeda.

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

The former taxi driver faced a maximum of 25 years in prison.

He is the first person to be convicted under new Australian anti-terror legislation adopted in October 2002.

Judge Philip Cummins of the Victoria Supreme Court said that Thomas had to serve at least two years of the five year sentence.

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

The court heard that Thomas had visited al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan shortly before the September 11 attacks in the US. The prosecution alleged 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.

His lawyer had argued for lenience, saying that Thomas accepted the money and plane ticket because he wanted to return home.

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

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