Skip to comments.Australian terrorist seeks deal to testify in foreign trials
Posted on 08/18/2004 8:38:08 AM PDT by knighthawk
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's first convicted terrorist, who confessed to conspiring with Al-Qaeda to blow up the Israeli embassy in Canberra, wants a deal in exchange for testifying against terror suspects in foreign courts.
The Australian newspaper said British-born Islamic convert Jack Roche has undergone two lengthy interrogations with Australian Federal Police since he was sentenced to nine years in jail three months ago.
The paper said the interrogations produced two witness statements for Indonesian authorities, two for Germany and one for France.
But it said Roche has refused to sign the statements or commit to giving evidence at foreign trials until he was offered "significant concessions'.
Roche's appeal against the length of his sentence is due to be heard September 9.
However the department of public prosecutions will appeal the leniency of the sentence.
The trial judge said he did not hand down the maximum 25-year term due to Roche's eventual guilty plea and a letter from police verifying his cooperation with investigators.
It is understood Roche wants the prosecution's appeal dropped and is seeking admission to a witness protection program if foreign authorities want him to testify against suspected terrorists.
The commonwealth department of public prosecutions said it would not comment on the case. Australian Federal Police on Wednesday did not return AFP's calls.
During the trial, the court heard that Roche underwent military-style training four years ago with the Taliban in Afghanistan, where he briefly met Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Roche told police senior members of Al-Qaeda and the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) asked him to identify US and Israeli targets in Australia.
He admitted carrying out surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Canberra and trying unsuccessfully to recruit Caucasian Muslims into a terror cell.
But he told police the planned attack was called off in mid-2000 by the man he knew as JI's leader, Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
Roche testified that he feared for his life and tried to contact Australia's main spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, to warn it of the terrorist activities.
But he was ignored at the time and was only arrested in November 2002 during a sweep of Muslim radicals that followed the Bali bombings blamed on JI militants. The attack killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
The Australian newspaper said French and German officials were interested in evidence Roche could provide on Christian Ganczarski who is accused of being involved in the 2002 bombing of a mosque in Tunisia.
Ganczarski was arrested in France last year and officials believe he may have met Roche in Afghanistan.
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