Australian Man Released From Lebanese Jail, His Brothers Were Allegedly Behind Bomb Plot
Australian-Lebanese dual national Amer Khayat was released from prison on Friday after serving time for more than two years over an alleged plan to bomb an Etihad flight destined for the United Arab Emirates from Sydney.
Amer Khayat's brothers, Mahmoud Khayat and Khaled Khayat, have been found guilty in Australia of plotting to blow up the plane with a bomb hidden in a meat grinder, and to carrying out a poisonous gas attack.
Australian authorities believed Amer was an unwitting participant in the failed attack. After his release from Roumieh prison, the cook from Sydney's Inner West told ABC News his brothers were innocent of "setting him up".
"I don't believe that, but what can I do?" he said. "I have to go back home, to Australia. Australia is my country not Lebanon".
Amer was arrested in Lebanon in 2017 after Australian police said his brothers had planned to hide a bomb in his luggage on his Etihad flight from Sydney.
His brothers allegedly panicked and removed the bomb at the last minute.
Amer told the ABC he didn't have a "close" relationship with Mahmoud and Khaled. He said his Sydney-based daughters, aged 13 and 16, think he is guilty.
"They think, why am I in Lebanon? I must have done something wrong."
A few hours before Amer was acquitted by Lebanon's military court, his brother Mahmoud, 34, was found guilty of the terror plot in Sydney.
Their older brother Khaled, 51, was found guilty in May of conspiring to prepare or plan a terrorist act.
Prosecutor Lincoln Crowley QC said the brothers plotted the attack with another brother, Tarek Khayat, who is allegedly involved with Islamic State in Syria, and an unidentified man known as “the controller”.
In addition to Amer's acquittal on Wednesday, Lebanon's Military Tribunal reportedly sentenced Khaled, Mahmoud and Tareq Khayat in absentia to hard labour for life.
Featured Image: AP