A former Qantas worker found guilty of producing a do-it-yourself jihad manual had his conviction reinstated by Australia’s High Court Friday, with judges ruling he had extremist intentions.
Lebanese-born Belal Sadallah Khazaal, an ex-Qantas cabin cleaner, was jailed for 12 years in 2009 over the Arabic-language handbook, which included how-to guides on bomb-making, assassinations, kidnappings and shooting down planes.
The five judges unanimously overturned a lower court’s 2-1 majority decision that had quashed Khazaal’s conviction for producing the book knowing it was connected with assisting in a terrorist act. There was no evidence that it had resulted in a terrorist attack.
The charge was created in 2002 as part of a raft of tough new Australian terrorism laws legislated in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
42-year-old Khazaal, became one of the first terror suspects to be charged under the laws.
The 110-page “Provisions of the Rules of Jihad: Short Judicial Rulings and Organizational Instructions for Fighters and Mujahideen Against Infidels” named ex-U.S. president George W. Bush and his CIA chief George Tenet as targets.
Khazaal, had his conviction for knowingly making a document connected with assistance in a terrorist act quashed by an appeals court in 2011, but government prosecutors sought to have it reinstated by the High Court.
A five-judge panel headed by Chief Justice Robert French ruled Friday that Khazaal’s original conviction should stand, rejecting his claims that the manual had not been intended to incite extremism.
“The Court held that the evidence pointed to by the respondent did not suggest a reasonable possibility that the making of the e-book was not intended to facilitate assistance in a terrorist act,” the judges said.
Khazaal, once a prominent Islamic youth leader, must serve at least nine years before he can apply for release.