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NSW electrician jailed for providing missile advice to Islamic State

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An electrician from rural New South Wales has been jailed for at least six years and nine months after he designed missiles for Islamic State

Haisem Zahab, an Australian-born citizen, had pleaded guilty last year to knowingly providing support or resources to a terrorist organisation after working on a laser warning receiver, rockets and a rocket guidance method for Isis from 2014.

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The 44-year-old, from the NSW town of Young, also admitted he failed to comply with an order to help police access encrypted data on his phone and other devices.

On Friday, the NSW supreme court justice Geoffrey Bellew sentenced Zahab to nine years in jail, with a non-parole period of six years and nine months.

The judge dismissed Zahab’s claim that he genuinely believed at the time of his offending that Isis was “a force of good” rather than evil and could, therefore, help civilians in Syria fight the regime of president Bashar al-Assad.

He also rejected Zahab’s testimony that he had been in a cult or bubble of Isis supporters – including on Twitter where he assumed the alias “Stranger” – and had divorced himself from mainstream news.

Bellew was also sceptical of the electrician’s subsequent contrition.

With time already served, Zahab will be eligible for release in December 2023.

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