Australian to appeal conviction for receiving al Qaeda funds

[JURIST] An Australian man plans to appeal his conviction for receiving money and a plane ticket from an Osama bin Laden associate, his lawyer said Monday. Joseph Terrence Thomas [advocacy website; ABC TV report] was found guilty by a jury [BBC report] over the weekend for receiving $3,500 from Khaled bin Attash [Wikipedia profile], a senior al Qaeda member, after training with the terrorist group in Afghanistan in 2002. Thomas was also found guilty of carrying a fake passport, but was acquitted on two charges that he willingly provided resources and support to al Qaeda.

Thomas claims he was threatened during an interrogation by American and Pakistani intelligence agents in 2003, and that he was later questioned by Australian police without being given access to a lawyer. His lawyers contend that his trial was being used as an example to show that Australian police are "tough on terrorism" since he was the first convicted under new anti-terror laws passed by Australia in 2002. Thomas will have a pre-sentencing hearing on Thursday in Melbourne. Reuters has more. Anthony Dowsley of the Herald Sun has local coverage.



 

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