3 IS-inspired militants sentenced for Australia plot
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Three men inspired by the Islamic State group were sentenced Friday for plotting an attack in Australia’s second-largest city.
Ahmed Mohamed, Abdullah Chaarani and Hamza Abbas were given lengthy prison sentences on charges of preparing a mass attack around Christmas 2016 involving explosives and knives at Federation Square, a popular downtown restaurant and entertainment precinct in Melbourne.
Chaarani, 29, and Mohamed, 27, must serve at least 28 years and six months in prison. Hamza Abbas, 24, who was involved in the conspiracy for a shorter time, was jailed for 22 years with a non-parole period of 16 years and six months.
At the Supreme Court of Victoria, Justice Christopher Beale said the three men had embraced Islamic State ideology.
“Each of you, to a greater or lesser degree, accessed materials on the internet supportive of Islamic State and violent jihad,” he said. “Their views became so warped they had come to believe the mass slaughter of innocent civilians would be a glorious act, pleasing to Allah.”
“The stupidity of that belief was only matched by its malevolence,” he added.
Ibrahim Abbas, the self-confessed ringleader of the plot, was sentenced last year to 24 years in prison. He had been a prosecution witness against his brother Hamza Abbas and co-conspirators Mohamed and Chaarani.
During a plea hearing before Beale last month, Mohamed and Chaarani claimed they had renounced Islamic State and had worked toward deradicalization since being arrested on Dec. 22, 2016.
Beale on Friday accepted the three men were on the path to rehabilitation.
It is the second terrorism conviction for Mohamed and Chaarani, who are already serving 22-year prison terms for firebombing a Shiite mosque in Melbourne just weeks before the planned Christmas attack.