The Post

Kiwi guilty of planning Syria fight

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A NEW ZEALAND citizen has been found guilty of preparing to fight on the frontline in war-torn Syria and die for Allah.

Yesterday, a Supreme Court jury in Melbourne convicted Amin Mohamed, 25, who was originally from Somalia but living in Melbourne, of three charges of preparing to enter a foreign state to engage in hostile activities.

Crown prosecutor Lesley Taylor, QC, had told the jury the evidence against Mohamed had been overwhelmi­ng and his claims that he wanted to travel to Syria to do humanitari­an work were all lies.

‘‘The Crown says to you that the humanitari­an motivation is inherently implausibl­e and illogical,’’ Taylor said. ‘‘It doesn’t fly and it can be dismissed outright.

‘‘What the Crown says is that the evidence shows that Mr Mohamed was planning to go to Syria to fight, to go to the frontline and to have the chance to be martyred in the cause of Allah, that is, to die on the battlefiel­d.

‘‘The Crown does not have to prove what armed group Mr Mohamed intended on joining or the level of competence or organisati­on of any such group . . . It is enough to prove Mr Mohamed intended to engage in armed hostilitie­s.’’

Taylor said Mohamed was using alleged Sydney recruiter Hamdi Al Qudsi to help get to Syria.

When Mohamed was stopped at Brisbane internatio­nal airport on September 22, 2013, after his New Zealand passport had been cancelled, he claimed he was headed to Denmark via Turkey to see his fiancee, whom he had never met.

The Crown case against him hinged on intercepte­d phone calls recorded by police between him and Al Qudsi about travelling to Syria to fight the Assad government.

Mohamed, a customer services officer at Couriers Please in Port Melbourne, told the jury his only plan was to move to Syria and help people there as it was his destiny as part of his religion.

Defence barrister Julian McMahon said Mohamed never talked about beheading people or blowing people up during his conversati­ons with Al Qudsi.

’You don’t see him engaging in prolonged Jihadist pro-death, promartyr, pro-beheading kind of conversati­ons because that’s not what’s happening in his head, and that’s where you have to go, into his head.

‘‘He made it pretty plain to you that at times he was using Al Qudsi. He didn’t interrupt the flow [of conversati­on between them] because it would interrupt his destiny of getting there. You’ve got to look at the culture and the religion and the personalit­ies and so on.’’

A pre-sentence hearing for Mohamed will be held on December 1.

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