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Australia Federation Square terror plotter has been bullied in prison, court hears

08:17  15 october  2019
08:17  15 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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A 24-year-old terror plotter has been threatened and bullied in prison , the Supreme Court has heard , as lawyers for "childish and childlike" Hamza Abbas sought sympathy from the sentencing judge. Abbas is one of three men found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack on Melbourne's Federation

Convicted terrorist Ahmed Mohamed only participated in the plot because he was ignorant and wanted to make bombs, he tells a Melbourne court . He thought Islamic State was cool after seeing them giving charity in propaganda videos.

a man looking at the camera: Ahmed Mohamed, Abdullah Chaarani and Hamza Abbas were found guilty in November 2018. (ABC News, file image)© Supplied: Jeff Hayes, file image Ahmed Mohamed, Abdullah Chaarani and Hamza Abbas were found guilty in November 2018. (ABC News, file image)

A 24-year-old terror plotter has been threatened and bullied in prison, the Supreme Court has heard, as lawyers for "childish and childlike" Hamza Abbas sought sympathy from the sentencing judge.

Abbas is one of three men found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack on Melbourne's Federation Square in December 2016.

A plea hearing is underway in the Supreme Court of Victoria for Abbas, Abdullah Chaarani, 29, and Ahmed Mohamed, 27.

During a lengthy trial last year, the jury heard the men had purchased machetes and metal pipes as well as materials and chemicals to make explosives and had tried to obtain guns.

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They had also conducted reconnaissance in and around Federation Square, where the prosecution said they wanted to carry out an attack at Christmas time in order to maximise casualties.

On November 2 last year, after six days of deliberation, the jury found them guilty of terrorism offences.

Hamza Abbas's brother Ibrahim Abbas was the key witness in the case, claiming to have been the group's ringleader.

He was last year jailed for 24 years for his role in the plot.

During the 2018 trial, Ibrahim Abbas told the jury he had convinced his three co-accused to take part in the Islamic State-inspired plot.

Hamza Abbas's lawyer Felicity Gerry QC told the court her client had "intellectual limitations" and was a "follower" who was not aware "of the extent of what his brother was planning".

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Federation Square terror plotter has been bullied in prison , court hears . Haque was “fascinated” by the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge on 22 March last year, the court “His methods were to expose them to information and video recordings and even to have them enact.

A court is told a Melbourne man only pretended to plan for terrorist attacks to expose a "mole" he thought was embroiled in a police conspiracy against right-wing groups.Phillip Galea, 34, is on trial accused of plotting Federation Square terror plotter has been bullied in prison , court hears .

"He was not privy to the major arrangements of the major event," she told Justice Christopher Beale.

She also told the court Hamza Abbas was no longer radicalised.

But Justice Beale was unconvinced that the younger Abbas has turned his back on Islamic State ideology and questioned claims he could not "fully appreciate what the offending involved".

Ms Gerry argued her "childish and childlike" client was in a "lesser category" to his co-accused and that a long prison term would be more burdensome for him.

He had been "victimised, threatened and harassed all the time" in prison where he was isolated from other prisoners, she told the court.

Sentencing delayed by Fawkner mosque case

Abdullah Chaarani was obsessed with Islamic State and the events happening in Syria in 2015 and 2016, his lawyer Patrick Tehan QC told the court.

But Mr Tehan told the court Chaarani "categorically renounces any adherence to ISIS ideology".

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He had been held for six months in prison and returned to the UK before the trial amid fears for his safety. The high court decision by Lord Justice Irwin Charles, according to findings made by a senior district judge at a previous extradition hearing , had been assaulted by Turkish guards and prisoners

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Chaarani had an "intellectual, political and ideological" interest in the events in the Middle East at that time, in particular the clash between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Mr Tehan said.

Chaarani is a Sunni Muslim.

Mohamed's lawyers will also address the court during this two-day plea hearing, which is designed to assist Justice Beale in determining what sentence he will give each accused man.

The sentencing of the men has been delayed because of other proceedings against Chaarani and Mohamed, who were sentenced in July over an attack on a Shia mosque in Fawkner just weeks before their planned plot.

During a plea hearing in that case, the men had made last-ditch attempts to convince the court they had renounced Islamic State.

Chaarani offered letters of apology to the mosque community and to Justice Andrew Tinney for an outburst in the court after the jury finding.

Chaarani and Mohamed are already serving sentences of 22 years' jail, with a minimum of 17 years, for burning down the Imam Ali Islamic Centre.

The plea hearing for the trio continues.

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