11 Muslims ordered to stand trial in Australia
The 11 suspects pleaded innocence at the hearing to charges that they were members of a terrorist organisation.Updated: Sep 01, 2006 16:30 IST
Eleven Muslim men accused of being members of a terrorist cell that was plotting a major attack in Australia were ordered on Friday to stand trial under the country's tough security laws.
Magistrate Paul Smith ruled at a court hearing in the southern city of Melbourne that he was satisfied prosecutors had enough evidence to justify sending the 11 men to trial.
A decision would be made later on two other men charged with the group, the magistrate said.
The 11 suspects pleaded innocence at the hearing to charges that they were members of a terrorist organisation. Some faces additional charges of funding a terrorist organisation.
They pleaded innocent to those charges. Smith ordered the men to remain in custody.
The men were among 18 suspects arrested in November in coordinated pre-dawn raids in Melbourne and Sydney in a two-year operation police said headed off a catastrophic terror attack in Australia, possibly targeting a nuclear reactor in southern Sydney.
Authorities have released only few details of the alleged attack plot, but have alleged some of the suspects trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan and met Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Algerian-born Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 46, the alleged spiritual leader of the group, was among those committed today to stand trial.
The others were Fadal Sayadi, 26, Majed Raad, 22, Amer Haddara, 26, Ahmed Raad, 23, Abdullah Merhi, 21, Hany Taha, 31, Shoue Hammoud, 26, Izzydeen Atik, 26, Bassam Raad, 24, and Ezzit Raad, 24.
First Published: Sep 01, 2006 14:15 IST