Sydney, Australia, Nov 20 (efe-epa).- An Australian court on Friday sentenced far-right extremist Phillip Galea to 12 years in prison for plotting terror attacks against groups associated with the political left in Melbourne in 2016, police said Friday.
Last year a jury found Galea guilty of planning to attack venues such as the Victorian Trades Hall in Carlton and the Melbourne Anarchist Club, for which he searched the internet for information on methods to prepare smoke bombs and tried to recruit activists.
“You’re not being punished for holding radical right-wing views … you’re being punished for the violent means you contemplated,” Judge Elizabeth Hollingworth told the 36-year-old in Victoria’s Supreme Court, public broadcaster ABC reported.
Nine years of his 12-year sentence must be served before he is eligible for parole. However, as he has already spent four years on remand, he could be released in around five years.
The Australian police arrested Galea in 2016 in a raid, during which they seized mercury and several cattle prods from his home, among other materials, as well as maps and photographs of the buildings he intended to attack.
Galea wrote a document he called the “Patriot’s Cookbook” – based on “The Anarchist Cookbook,” written in 1971 with instructions on how to make bombs, engage in sabotage and manufacture weapons – in order to incite others to carry out violent acts against Muslims and leftists, according to authorities.
The extremist, who was involved in far-right groups such as Reclaim Australia and True Blue Crew, claimed it was only “a satirical document.”
“You clearly regarded Muslims and people on the left wing of politics as sub-humans whose lives have no value,” Judge Hollingworth said.
“Given you abhor the anarchist movement … it’s somewhat ironic that you intended to use so much of their intellectual property,” she said, adding that he showed no remorse for his offending, and even while awaiting trial “continued advocating violence.”
Australian intelligence agencies have repeatedly warned that the threat from far-right groups has increased since the March 2019 terror attack by an Australian man against two New Zealand mosques, in which 51 Muslims were killed.
The head of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization (ASIO), Mike Burgess, warned in February that “in suburbs around Australia, small cells regularly meet to salute Nazi flags, inspect weapons, train in combat and share their hateful ideology.”
The Australian spy chief also said that these extremists use online forums to connect with like-minded individuals around the world. EFE-EPA