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Sydney terrorism suspect jailed for 20 years -

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Sydney terrorism suspect jailed for 20 years

Broadcast: 23/08/2006

Reporter: Leigh Sales

A Sydney court has handed down the most severe terrorism sentence ever in Australia. Faheem Lodhi
will spend a maximum 20 years behind bars for plotting a bomb attack on Sydney to promote the cause
of violent jihad.

Transcript

TONY JONES: A Sydney court has handed down the most severe terrorism sentence ever in Australia
Faheem Lodhi will spend a maximum 20 years behind bars - for plotting a bomb attack on Sydney to
promote the cause of violent jihad. The judge found that if the bombing had gone ahead, it would
have had a devastating impact on Australia's easygoing way of life. National security correspondent
Leigh Sales reports.

LEIGH SALES: If his 20-year sentence is anything to go by, Faheem Lodhi is Australia's closest
brush with a home-grown terrorist act. Lodhi sat quietly in the dock, as he was sentenced for
plotting to blow up an unknown target, possibly, the Australian Electricity Grid.

JUSTICE ANTHONY WHEALY: "If carried out, it would instill terror into members of the public so that
they could, never again, feel free from the threat of bombing attacks within Australia."

LEIGH SALES: ..Justice Anthony Whealy told the court. Justice Whealy accepted the prosecution
argument that even though Lodhi's planning was in its early stages, the attack would've had a
devastating effect on the Australian national psyche. He drew a comparison to the Port Arthur
massacre, saying the impact of that showed what a huge effect a major terrorist attack would have
on the stability and security of this country. He said Mr Lodhi's not guilty plea indicated a lack
of remorse.

JUSTICE ANTHONY WHEALY: "I can gain no meaningful insight into the circumstances, which have
transformed him from an otherwise respectable member of the community to a dangerous terrorist
whose views are coloured by notions of the most extreme and fundamental kind."

LEIGH SALES: Justice Whealy spoke at length about Faheem Lodhi's relationship with accused
terrorist Willie Brigitte saying that, together, they were clearly exploring the idea of an
Australian attack. Lodhi will be jailed in a maximum security prison and classified as a 'double-A
inmate' - a relatively new classification for prisoners considered a special threat to national
security. It means he'll face daily searches of his cell, and have to move cells every two weeks.
Lodhi will live in an area similar to this, with no more than three hours outside a day, and next
to no interaction with anybody. He won't be eligible for parole until 2019 and his lawyers are
expected to lodge an appeal. Leigh Sales, Lateline.