Four Australians who planned to sail to the Philippines on a ‘tinny’ fishing boat and join the Abu Sayyaf terror group have been jailed.
As we previously reported, the men – and two other Australians who have yet to be sentenced – were arrested in 2016 after buying a 23-foot boat and transporting it 1,765 miles overland from the southern city of Melbourne to the northeastern tip of Australia.
Despite having almost zero sailing experience, the “Tinnie Terrorists”, as the Australian media dubbed them, planned to reach the southern Philippines to join up with Abu Sayyaf.
“The whole venture was poorly planned and, I fear, foredoomed to failure,” Justice Michael Croucher wrote in his judgement today (Friday, February 22).
“Given the ill-suited vessel they had and their lack of serious boating experience, it is hard to imagine that they would have made it very far past the breakers off far north of Queensland.”
Paul James Dacre, Antonino Granata and Kadir Kaya were sentenced to four years prison at the Supreme Court of Victoria, while Murat Kaya was sentenced to three years and eight months.
The two other men, Shayden Thorne and notorious Australian Islamic preacher Musa Cerantonio, have pleaded guilty to the charges are yet to be sentenced.
In handing down his sentence in Melbourne, Justice Croucher said the four men would not have been involved in the plot if not for the “charismatic and persuasive Mr Cerantonio”.
Canberra has been increasingly concerned by homegrown extremism and citizens fighting with jihadist organisations abroad such as the so-called Islamic State or its affiliates like Abu Sayyaf.
The country introduced sweeping counter terrorism laws in 2014 that include blocking alleged jihadists from going overseas.
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