Australian terrorism trial opens

Other News Materials 11 November 2008 09:25 (UTC +04:00)

The judge in a trial of five Muslim men accused of plotting a terrorist attack in Australia cautioned jurors that Islam was not on trial and urged them to put aside any bias, CNN reported.

Prosecutors have said the suspects were devotees of a radical cleric sympathetic to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and that they made a pact to launch a terrorist attack because they felt their religion was under threat.

The men have pleaded not guilty.

New South Wales state Supreme Court judge Justice Anthony Whealy asked the 15 jurors Tuesday to put aside any prejudice, noting that the public has been bombarded with media coverage of radical Islam and its links to terrorism.

The suspects have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit acts in preparation for a terrorist attack.