Syd­ney gun­man’s bizarre belief

Lesotho Times - - International -

SYD­NEY — The self-styled sheikh be­hind a siege at a Syd­ney cafe had been charged as an ac­ces­sory to mur­der and with mul­ti­ple sex­ual of­fences in his past. He also com­pared him­self to Wik­ileaks founder Ju­lian As­sange, say­ing he was be­ing per­se­cuted for his po­lit­i­cal be­liefs.

Man Haron Mo­nis, an Ira­nian refugee de­scribed by those who knew him as a loner, was killed early on Tues­day after heav­ily armed po­lice stormed the Lindt Choco­late Cafe to end a 16-hour hostage drama that made global head­lines.

Last year, Mo­nis was charged as an ac­ces­sory to the stab­bing mur­der of his ex-wife, who was set alight in a Syd­ney apart­ment block. He was charged this year with more than 40 counts of sex­ual or in­de­cent as­sault against women in Syd­ney, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

He also har­boured deep griev­ances against the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment and had found lit­tle kin­ship in the city’s large Mus­lim com­mu­nity, where he was seen as deeply trou­bled.

He was also found guilty in 2012 of send­ing threat­en­ing let­ters to the fam­i­lies of eight Aus­tralian sol­diers killed in Afghanistan and sentenced to two years in prison, although he served only a por­tion of that penalty.

Ac­cord­ing to AP, Aus­tralia’s prime min­is­ter said the gun­man was “a deeply dis­turbed in­di­vid­ual’ known to the po­lice but he was not on a ter­ror watch list.

Tony Ab­bott said that Man Haron Mo­nis, who died in a po­lice raid along with two hostages, “cer­tainly had been well known to the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice, but I don’t be­lieve that he was on a ter­ror watch list at this time.”

Those charges and the con­vic­tion, as well as pub­lic state­ments Mo­nis made on his web­site, have raised ques­tions in Aus­tralian me­dia about whether au­thor­i­ties should have done more to mon­i­tor him.

Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott told re­porters that Mo­nis was well known to po­lice. When asked by a jour­nal­ist whether it was ap­pro­pri­ate for Mo­nis to have been granted bail for the mur­der charge, New South Wales state premier Mike Baird de­clined to com­ment.

Mo­nis’ web­site, now taken down by au­thor­i­ties, paints a pic­ture of a man un­rav­el­ling, en­raged by Aus­tralian courts and by per­ceived in­jus­tices against Mus­lims in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Man Haron Mo­nis... has con­tin­u­ously been un­der at­tack and false ac­cu­sa­tion by the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment and me­dia since he started his po­lit­i­cal let­ter cam­paign from 2007,” Mo­nis wrote on the web­site.

He also railed against what he said was a decision by a court to pre­vent him from see­ing his chil­dren.

“His chil­dren have been taken away from him by the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment and he is not al­lowed to visit or even call them,” Mo­nis wrote.

Syd­ney-based crim­i­nal de­fence lawyer Adam Houda, who rep­re­sented Mo­nis over the let­ters sent to the sol­diers’ fam­i­lies, de­scribed him as a deeply un­set­tled loner, wholly apart from Syd­ney’s tight-knit Mus­lim com­mu­nity. — Reuters

Man Haron Mo­nis was de­scribed by those who knew him as a loner.

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