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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 05:50 GMT 06:50 UK
Australia frees embassy plotter
Jack Roche
Jack Roche was released after serving half his sentence
A British-born Muslim who plotted to blow up Israel's embassy in Australia has been released from jail.

Jack Roche, 53, was freed on parole from a top-security prison in Perth, Western Australia, after serving half of his nine-year sentence.

Under his parole conditions he must report regularly to police.

Roche was jailed in 2004 after he admitted having links to al-Qaeda and planning the Israeli embassy bombing, which was never carried out.

The BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney says the former factory worker converted to Islam while trying to tackle a drinking problem.

Roche, who was born in Hull, northern England, said he had met Osama Bin Laden during a trip to Afghanistan, and admitted having been a member of the Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

During his trial, Roche portrayed himself as a man who had stumbled almost by accident into the world of international terrorism.

JACK ROCHE
Muslim convert born as Paul Holland in Hull, northern England
Admits being a former JI member
Denies charges of attempted terrorism
Insists Abu Bakar Ba'asyir headed militant group JI

He said he had feared for his life if he did not carry out al-Qaeda orders to keep up surveillance on Israeli embassy in Canberra, but had never agreed to bomb the building.

During his trial Roche said that when he became disillusioned with JI, he went to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to tell them all he knew.

But he "nobody seemed particularly interested in what was going on".

After his release on Thursday, Roche was asked by reporters if he was still in contact with al-Qaeda operatives and replied: "No."

He was the first person to be convicted under Australia's new anti-terrorism laws, introduced in the wake of the 11 September attacks in the United States in 2001.

After his release from a prison near Perth, Western Australia, where he has lived since the 1970s, Roche's lawyer said his client now wanted to lead a quiet life.


SEE ALSO
Jack Roche: The naive militant
28 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Australian guilty of embassy plot
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Australian suspect 'feared for life'
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26 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific
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19 May 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Australian 'trained by al-Qaeda'
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