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Sydney terrorism suspects await verdict -

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Sydney terrorism suspects await verdict

Broadcast: 15/09/2009

Reporter: Philippa McDonald

The jury had gone out to consider their verdict in the trial of five Sydney men charged over
conspiring to commit a terrorist act.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The jury in Australia's longest-running terrorism trial has retired to
consider its verdict. Five Sydney men have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit a terrorist
act or acts on Australian soil. Philippa McDonald reports.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD, REPORTER: Every day for the past 10 months, five men accused of plotting a
terrorist attack on Australian soil have been brought to this purpose-built, high-security court at

The accused were arrested at their homes in suburban Sydney in late 2005.

It's alleged they embraced violent jihad and planned to terrify and intimidate the public and
government in retaliation for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Summing up, Justice Anthony Whealy told the jury the Crown case was that the men were influenced by
the teachings of the Mujahadeen, "You kill us so we kill you. You bomb us so we bomb you." And
that, "Each of the accused was working with the others to acquire and stockpile chemicals, firearms
and ammunition."

PHILIPPA MCDONALD: These are the guns police say they seized from Mohamed Elomar's home, along with
thousands of rounds of ammunition.

The jury heard that another of the accused, Moustafa Cheikho, attended a paramilitary training camp
in Pakistan run by the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba. However, a key FBI witness told the
court he couldn't be sure it was him.

The prosecution argues, though, that three of the accused did go on paramilitary style camps in
western NSW. The defence told the jury they were just hunting, camping and having fun.

Throughout this 10-month trial, the prosecution has never told the court what the supposed target
was for these alleged terrorist attacks, and while the jury has been shown exhaustive surveillance
and heard evidence from more than 300 witness, there's no direct evidence linking the accused to
this alleged terrorism plot.

Now it's up to the jurors to consider their verdict. The judges told them to put aside their
prejudices and remember that it's not the Muslim faith that is on trial. Philippa McDonald,