Sydney magistrate refuse to grant bail to one of terror suspects

A Sydney magistrate Friday refused to grant bail to one of eight men arrested in the city this week and charged with making explosives to carry out a terror bombing, saying the evidence appeared to link him to a plot that could "create great disturbance inside this country."

Bosnian-born Mirsad Mulahalilovic, 29, wearing an orange jumpsuit short hair and a beard, appeared for the brief bail hearing via a video link from a top security jail outside Sydney.

Prosecutors accuse him of buying acid that could be used to make bombs and allege Mulahalilovic is part of a Sydney-based terror cell that had bomb making instructions stored on a computer memory card.

Mulahalilovic was the only one of eight suspects arrested in a string of dramatic pre-dawn raids Tuesday in Sydney to apply for bail at the city's Central Local Court.

Defense attorney Phillip Boulten argued that the prosecution case, built over an 18-month investigation leading up to the mass arrests, consisted only of evidence that Mulahalilovic bought a length of PVC piping and some plastic caps and that police found hydrochloric acid in his house when they searched it after his arrest.

But Prosecutor Wendy Abraham argued that Mulahalilovic's case needed to be looked at in terms of his relationship with other suspects picked up in the raids, who are accused of being a terror cell led by a radical Islamic cleric based in the southern city of Melbourne.

Abraham said that hydrochloric acid was one of the ingredients for explosives police found on the computer memory card.

Boulten argued that there was a "completely innocent explanation" for the acid, which could be used as a cleaner by Mulahalilovic, who is a painter and handyman. There is "no evidence that it was to be used for an illicit purpose," he said.

"This is a most marginal basis upon which to charge someone with a conspiracy to (carry out) a terrorist attack," Boulten told the court.

He accused authorities of keeping Mulahalilovic locked up for more than 20 hours each day since his arrest and preventing him coming into contact with other prisoners or phoning his pregnant wife and other family members.

"It seems our corrective services department wishes to emulate the example of Guantanamo Bay," Boulten said.

Magistrate Allan Moore said that the preliminary evidence indicated Mulahalilovic was involved with others in activities "which have the potential to create great disturbance inside this country."

He refused to grant Mulahalilovic bail despite family and friends of the man offering to put up three houses worth a total of 1 million Australian dollars (US$730,000; Ђ620,642.75) as a bond.

In a linked terror case, Moore ordered 25-year-old Izzydeen Apik extradited to Victoria state where he was to be charged with membership of a terror group.

Sydney police grabbed Apik from a car he was driving in Sydney on Thursday night. He was ordered to appear in court in Victorian state capital Melbourne on Monday, reports the AP. I.L.

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