A court in Australia Thursday rejected an appeal of a Sydney man charged with hiring foreign fighters for the Syrian war and ruled that he should stand trial.
Hamdi Alqudsi is the first person to be charged under the Australian law -- reinstated last year with a tougher legislation to tackle terrorism -- with aiding rebels in the troubled Middle-Eastern country.
The 41-year-old was charged last year under the Crime (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 for allegedly sending seven men to Syria between June and October 2013 to join Jabhat al-Nusra and other al Qaeda affiliates. However, Alqudsi maintained that the law was unconstitutional and argued that it had no more than a "remote, fortuitous or insubstantial connection" with the external affairs or the defense of Australia.
On Thursday, New South Wales state Supreme Court judge Christine Adamson said that the law was constitutional as it concerned the country’s external relations, the Associated Press reported. She also rejected his appeal to dismiss the charge.
Prosecutors claim that telephone recordings show Alqudsi communicating with the alleged recruits about fighting in Syria, and assisting them to join the fighters in the war-torn country. However, Alqudsi's lawyer Zali Burrows previously argued that Alqudsi was only giving harmless travel advice, according to the Australian Associated Press news agency.
Alqudsi pleaded not guilty to the charge and a pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Friday. He could face seven years in prison if convicted.