Bilal Khazal

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Bilal Khazal (also Belal Khazal) is a Lebanese Australian who was a former baggage handler for Qantas Airways at Sydney Airport and a prominent figure in the Islamic Youth Movement.

Born in Lebanon, the father of two was listed in a Central Intelligence Agency report as a member of Al-Qaeda and it was claimed that he had received training from the Taliban in 1998. He was also a subject of intelligence reports at the time of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The television program Four Corners has accused him of being a confidant of al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden.

On 25 September 2009 the Supreme Court of New South Wales sentenced Bilal Khazal to 14 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 9 years, for producing a book whilst knowing it was connected with assisting a terrorist attack that would happen in Australia. In 2011 the conviction was overturned[1] and Khazal was granted bail by the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Sydney on 7 June 2011, after spending nearly three years in jail. Mr Khazal's barrister, Charles Waterstreet, said that his jail conditions had been "just one step down from Guantánamo Bay".[citation needed] The Australian Commonwealth appealed to the High Court of Australia which in August 2012 unanimously overturned the earlier dismissal and Khazal's bail was revoked by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal. That court is yet to hear an appeal against his original sentence. While Mr Waterstreet expressed disappointment at the ruling, Nicola McGarrity, a lecturer in terrorism law at the University of NSW, called the High Court ruling unsurprising as it was the only reasonable conclusion based on the evidence.[2]

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