JOINT Australian man who recruited for Islamic State arrested on return from Turkey

A wanted man has been arrested on his return to Australia from Turkey following a NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) investigation into suspected terrorism offences.

The 30-year-old former Sydney man, who was the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant in NSW, was arrested at Melbourne International Airport by members of the AFP International Counter Terrorism Investigations Response Team after arriving on a flight from Turkey about 4pm yesterday (Saturday 8 May 2021).

The arrest warrant was sought by NSW JCTT – comprising the AFP, NSW Police Force (NSWPF), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission – following an investigation into the man’s alleged travel from Sydney to Turkey in 2013.

Authorities will allege the man then travelled from Turkey to Syria, where he allegedly facilitated the travel of foreign terrorist fighters to support Islamic State (IS).

The man will appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this morning via video link, where he will face a number of Commonwealth terrorism offences, including:

• One count of knowingly give support/resources to a terrorist organisation, contrary to section 102.7(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). This offence is punishable by a maximum term of 25 years’ imprisonment.

• One count of engage in a hostile activity in a foreign state, contrary to section 6(1)(a) of the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 (Cth). This offence is punishable by a maximum term of 20 years’ imprisonment.

• Three counts of provide support for another person to engage in a hostile activity in a foreign state, contrary to section 7(1)(e) of the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 (Cth). This offence is punishable by a maximum term of 10 years’ imprisonment; and

• One count of entering, or remaining in, declared areas contrary to section 119.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). This offence is punishable by a maximum term of 10 years’ imprisonment.

The man will undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine in Victorian corrections facilities before being extradited to NSW for the matter to be heard in a NSW court.

Australian Federal Police Commander Counter Terrorism Operations Stephen Dametto said the return of the Sydney man demonstrates that Australian authorities will continue working with overseas counterparts to support the management of terrorist threats offshore.

“Anyone who fights with, provides material support to, or associates with terrorist groups, is committing a serious crime and will be subject to the law,” Commander Dametto said.

“It has been an offence since 1978 to engage in hostile activity in a foreign country, unless serving in, or with the armed forces of the government of a foreign country.

“We have a responsibility to prevent our citizens from contributing to violence and instability overseas. Our laws are aimed at discouraging Australians from fighting in overseas conflicts and endangering their lives.”

NSWPF Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, said this was another example of the strength of the partnerships and collaboration in the counter terrorism framework.

“The diligence and dedication of the NSW JCTT investigators was complemented by the significant work conducted by other colleagues both here and abroad, to achieve this result,” Assistant Commissioner Walton said.

“Counter terrorism investigations remain a priority in NSW, and any act or plan for an act that may impact on the safety of our community – regardless of when it occurred – will be acted on with the same tenacity.”

There is no current or impending threat to the community related to the operation.

Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think the information may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400.

Further, information relating to any criminal activity in the community can be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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