An Australian nurse has been charged with knowingly supporting the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/Daesh) terrorist organization after he voluntarily returned home from Syria.
The nurse, identified as 39-year-old Adam Brookman from Coolaroo, is scheduled to appear before the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Monday for his alleged involvement in the conflict in Syria, a charge which carries a maximum jail time of 25 years under the country’s tough anti-terrorism law.
Brookman, a father of five, voluntarily surrendered himself to Turkish officials in Turkey on July 21 and arrived in Australia on July 24, Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.
His travel back to Australia was negotiated between the individual, the AFP, Victoria Police, other Commonwealth Government agencies and international partners.
He claimed he was in Syria on a humanitarian mission but was forced to join the IS militant group after he had been wounded in an air strike.
He is who is the first Australian to return home from the ISIS-controlled area.
AFP National Manager Counter Terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said Australians have been consistently warned that becoming involved in conflict in Syria and Iraq meant they risked being charged with serious offences.
“Matters such as this ultimately concern community safety, and we make no apology in taking action against people who may bring a radicalised ideology, and potentially other skills, back to Australia,” said Assistant Commissioner Gaughan.
Amid “a growing challenge from foreign fighters and home-grown terrorists”, the federal parliament has passed a number of counter-terrorism bills after the country raised the terror alert to high from medium in September 2014.
The bipartisan-supported tough measures include criminalizing travel to designated terror hotspots, providing national security agencies with more power and funding, targeting foreign fighter, requiring telecommunications firms to retain internet and phone records for two years.
Under the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act, dual nationals can be stripped of their Australian citizenship if they have been promoting, supporting or taking part in terrorism-related activities.