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Australia terrorism suspect sentenced to nine months for passport fraud

[JURIST] An Australian state court Wednesday sentenced suspected terrorist Joseph "Jack" Thomas [advocacy website] to nine months in prison for possessing a falsified passport. Justice Elizabeth Curtain [official profile, PDF] of the Supreme Court of Victoria [official website] released Thomas in consideration for his time served in prison, the prolonged delay in his prosecution, and his lack of prior convictions. Thomas, known in the Australian media as "Jihad Jack", was convicted last week of possessing a falsified passport, but was found not guilty of receiving money and a plane ticket from an al Qaeda operative. AP has more.

The sentencing signals the end of a long legal challenge. Thomas was originally convicted [JURIST report] in February 2006 of receiving $3,500 and a plane ticket after training with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, making him the first person incarcerated under the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Act 2002 [text, PDF] and the first person to be subject to Australia's controversial control orders [JURIST archive]. That conviction was overturned [JURIST report] by the Supreme Court of Victoria's appeals division after it was shown Thomas was interrogated by Australian Federal Police officers in Pakistan under duress and without access to a lawyer. In June 2008 the Court of Appeals upheld [text, PDF] a lower court ruling ordering a new trial after Thomas willingly volunteered information in an interview with the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC).

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