SYDNEY, Australia: An Australian man has been freed from a Lebanese prison after two years of incarceration over a terror plot case.
Amer Khayat was framed by his own brothers, who had schemed to use him to blow up an Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.
“They think I’m guilty,” he said while talking about his estranged relationship with his daughters, 16 and 13.
“They don’t know about the system here in Lebanon — why I was here, why I was in prison. They think that in Lebanon I did something wrong,” he said sadly.
Authorities in Australia and Lebanon recognize Khayat as an intended victim of his own brothers, Mahmoud and Khaled, who conspired to blow up a flight by planting explosives in his luggage.
Khayat was convinced by his brothers to take gifts for their family in Beirut.
Two juries in Australia determined that those presents, meat grinder and a doll, had hidden bombs that were removed at check-in by his brothers.
A tip off from Tel Aviv uncovered the terror plot which led to the arrest of Khayat and his Sydney brothers.
“The police just looked up the news on the phone and wrote it down and got me to sign it,” he complained.
The signed confession was used against him in the military tribunal, but was later rejected due to several inconsistencies and errors.
“Drug use might have been one reason why Mahmoud and Khaled may have decided their brother was expendable,” the military tribunal in Beirut said.
He said he did not believe his brothers were extremists neither did he know that one of his brothers was sentenced to death for fighting as an ISIS member.
“I haven’t spoken to him since 2014,” he told media.
He agreed that his relationship with his siblings was sour owning to drug use.
Three Khayat brothers — Khaled, Mahmoud and Tarek — have been convicted of terrorism offences.
Amer said he wants to return to Australia as soon as he has enough money to pay for his flight back home.
“It’s a good country to live there. Even if you can’t find a job. Australia is the best country in the world. I love Australia.”