Group planned to sail to Syria
ISIS bid is sunk
An Australian firebrand preacher deported from the Philippines and four other suspected jihadists have appeared in a northern Australian court charged with planning to head for Syria in a 7m boat to fight for ISIS.
Philippine authorities said Robert Cerantonio, also known as Musa Cerantonio, was deported in 2014 because of his suspected links to terrorists based on YouTube videos allegedly showing him advocating jihad and urging local Muslims to support militants in the Middle East.
Yesterday, the Cairns Magistrates Court ordered the extradition of Cerantonio and his four co-accused from Queensland state to their hometown of Melbourne to face a federal charge outlawing Australian foreign fighters. Entering or preparing to enter a foreign country to engage in hostile activity is a crime in Australia punishable by life imprisonment.
Cerantonio and co-accused Shayden Thorne, Kadir Kaya, Antonio Grenata and Paul Dacre have not entered pleas.
Police allege that the defendants, aged 21 to 33, towed a half-cabin fiberglass power boat with a car 3,100km from Melbourne to Laura in Australia’s tropical north before they were arrested last Tuesday. Police say they planned to travel by boat through Indonesia to the Philippines. Police have not specified how they allegedly planned to get from the Philippines to Syria. All had their passports cancelled to prevent them leaving the country.
Philippine authorities said Cerantonio was deported in 2014 for being an “undocumented foreign national” after the Australian government cancelled his passport.
Philippine police alleged that Cerantonio had called for jihad on YouTube and lectured Filipino Muslims to support ISIS.
Security officials estimate 110 Australians are fighting for ISIS in the Middle East.
3,100 The suspects allegedly towed their boat 3,100km