Pak-born man found guilty of terrorism charges in Australia

via published on June 20, 2006

SYDNEY: A Pakistan-born man, alleged to be having links with Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, was today convicted of planning to blow up Australian defence sites or a power grid, making him the first person in the country to be found guilty on terrorism-related charges.

A seven-week trial in New South Wales Supreme Court was told that 36-year-old Sydney-based architect Faheem Khalid Lodhi was planning a bombing attack in October 2003, motivated by violent ‘jihad’ or holy war.

National electricity supply system or three Sydney defence sites – Victoria Barracks, HMAS Penguin or Holsworthy Barracks – were the possible targets of Lodhi, an Australian citizen of Pakistani origin, the jury was told.

He was convicted on three terror-related charges — of using a false name to buy two maps of the electricity gid, using a false business name to inquire about buying chemicals from which explosives could be made and keeping a handwritten manual on bomb-making and poisons.

He faces a maximum penalty of life in jail.

He was acquitted of a fourth charge of downloading 38 aerial images of the military bases.

Lodhi denied the charges, rejecting as “absurd allegations” he was planning a terrorist attack, or that he believed in violent jihad. He told the court he obtained the maps and inquired about chemicals as part of planned business ventures, while the aerial photographs were intended to enhance his CV.

Lodhi is alleged to have trained with Pakistan-based Lashmar-e-Taiba, banned in Australia as a terrorist outfit.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated for five days before finding him guilty, state media reported

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