Australian to stand trial over French connection

16th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

SYDNEY, Nov 16 (AFP) - A Sydney butcher was Wednesday ordered to stand trial over accusations that he lied to intelligence officers over his contact with a French terrorist suspect.

SYDNEY, Nov 16 (AFP) - A Sydney butcher was Wednesday ordered to stand trial over accusations that he lied to intelligence officers over his contact with a French terrorist suspect.

Sydney's Central Local Court committed Abdul Rakib Hasan, 36, to stand trial on two counts of making false or misleading statements to the national spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in 2003.

Hasan was among 18 Muslim men arrested by police in a series of pre-dawn raids last week and charged with planning a terrorist attack or membership of a terrorist organisation.

Police allege that Hasan was one of several men to undertake "jihad" (holy war) training at a property in the Australian outback.

Appearing in Sydney's Central Local Court via video link Wednesday, Hasan indicated through his lawyer that he would plead not guilty to the two charges of providing ASIO with incorrect information.

According to a statement tendered to the court, Hasan helped French terror suspect Willie Brigitte find accommodation in Sydney on three occasions between May and October 2003.

But during questioning in November of that year, Hasan initially said he did not know Brigitte was staying at one address until the Frenchman told him so. He later said he had arranged for Brigitte to live there.

Australian authorities allege that Hasan had 24 phone conversations with Brigitte -- who was extradited to France, where he remains imprisoned as a terrorist suspect -- between June and September 2003.

However, in November 2003 Hasan told police he spoke to Brigitte, who he knew as Jamal, only three times during that period.

Hasan will be arraigned in New South Wales District Court on November 25.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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