Al Qaeda Plotter Freed From Australian Jail

A British man who pleaded guilty to plotting with Al Qaeda to bomb Israel's embassy in Australia was released on parole Thursday after serving 4 1/2 years of his nine-year sentence.

Jack Roche was convicted in May 2004 after he confessed to being involved in the plot, which was never carried out.

He was sentenced to nine years in a maximum-security prison after he agreed to be interviewed about his involvement with Al Qaeda and its Southeast Asian offshoot, Jemaah Islamiyah.

Roche left the Western Australia state Casuarina Prison in a taxi early Thursday.

Under the conditions of his parole, he will have to report regularly to the Australian federal police, who will also monitor his phone and Internet use.

Roche, of Hull, England, at first denied being involved in the plot, but changed his plea just 10 days into his trial in 2004.

He claimed to have entered the world of international terrorism through Australian contacts after he converted to Islam to overcome alcohol addiction, and said he quickly fell out of his depth.

The jury in the trial heard evidence that Roche used his contacts with Jemaah Islamiyah to connect with Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors said Roche then traveled to Afghanistan and received orders from top Al Qaeda officials to form a terrorist cell in Australia to carry out the bomb plot.