Five face ter­ror charges over Aus­trali­aSyria boat plan

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

BEIRUT—Five young men face life be­hind bars af­ter they were charged with ter­ror­ism of­fenses over a plan to sail to In­done­sia to join mil­i­tant groups in Syria, Aus­tralian po­lice said.

The men, aged in their twen­ties and early thir­ties and whose pass­ports had been can­celled, in­cluded no­to­ri­ous Aus­tralian Is­lamic preacher Musa Ceran­to­nio, who was de­tained in the Philip­pines in 2014 and de­ported for re­port­edly urg­ing peo­ple to join ji­had in Iraq and Syria, the Aus­tralian Broadcasting Cor­po­ra­tion re­ported.

The men, who were ar­rested on Tues­day, bought a seven-me­ter boat and drove it 2,840 kilo­me­ters from Mel­bourne north to Queens­land state where they planned to set sail to In­done­sia, the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice said. “The men... were each charged with one count of mak­ing prepa­ra­tions for in­cur­sions into for­eign coun­tries for the pur­pose of en­gag­ing in hos­tile ac­tiv­i­ties,” the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice said in a state­ment late Satur­day. “The max­i­mum penalty for this of­fense is life im­pris­on­ment.” The Aus­tralian Broadcasting Cor­po­ra­tion named two of the other men as Shay­den Thorne and Kadir Kaya. The Fed­eral Po­lice said there was no cur­rent or im­pend­ing ter­ror­ism threat from the case and that the men were due at a Queens­land state court hear­ing on Mon­day.

Can­berra has been in­creas­ingly con­cerned about its cit­i­zens fight­ing with ji­hadist or­ga­ni­za­tions such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria, say­ing some 110 Aus­tralians had left the coun­try to join such groups. The gov­ern­ment has also been wor­ried about home­grown ex­trem­ism and the ter­ror threat level was raised to high in Septem­ber 2014. It has passed nu­mer­ous na­tional se­cu­rity laws in­clud­ing leg­is­la­tion al­low­ing for pass­ports to be can­celled to pre­vent Aus­tralians from leav­ing the coun­try.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Ge­orge Bran­dis said the men’s pass­ports were can­celled sev­eral months ago. “Their pass­ports were can­celled by the For­eign Min­is­ter (Julie Bishop) be­cause the rel­e­vant level of con­cern about their in­ten­tions were known to us,” Bran­dis told re­porters in Bris­bane.—Agen­cies

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