Australia’s first convicted terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika will remain in jail
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Affected Countries: australia;
Australia’s first convicted terrorist leader will remain behind bars despite finishing his sentence, with fears he might reoffend if let back onto the streets.
Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 60, and 15 other men were charged in 2005 for plotting to blow up the MCG on AFL Grand Final day.
Benbrika also planned to carry out terror attacks on several busy Melbourne landmarks and Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, and was discussing assassinating then-Prime Minister John Howard.
The notorious Jihadi was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2009 with a non-parole period of 12 years.
Benbrika completed his sentence on November 5 but was kept in custody after the Victorian Supreme Court found he still held extremist views and had a high risk of reoffending.
Benbrika had appealed to the High Court, where his lawyers argued the law was punishing him for what he hypothetically could do, not what he had done.
On Wednesday the High Court upheld the Supreme Court’s decision to keep him in jail.
Victorian Judge Andrew Tinney said Benbrika had received visits in jail from people who then went and fought overseas.
‘If the defendant had been visited by one seemingly problematic person many years ago, that would be one thing,’ he said, the ABC reports.
‘But he was visited by 15 problematic individuals over some years from the time of his incarceration.’
‘On 15 September 2008, Mr Abdul Nacer Benbrika was convicted by the Supreme Court of Victoria of being a member of a terrorist organisation and directing the activities of a terrorist organisation,’ the High Court’s judgement read.
‘At trial, the Crown case was that Mr Benbrika and others were members of a Melbourne-based terrorist organisation that was fostering or preparing the doing of a terrorist act in Australia or overseas.’
The Algerian-born terrorist who arrived in Australian in 1989, became the country’s first convicted terrorist leader and was jailed for a maximum of 15 years in 2009.
Benbrika once said his group of followers needed to kill at least 1000 non-believers to make the Australian government withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In police recordings from 2005, Benrika was heard telling followers: ‘If we want to die for jihad, we have to have maximum damage. Maximum damage. Damage their buildings, everything. Damage their lives’.
Last year the Australian government cancelled Benbrika’s citizenship. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Benbrika would be sent back to Algeria once he is released.
‘I cancelled the Australian citizenship of convicted terrorist Benbrika, [making him] the first individual to have lost citizenship onshore,’ he said in November.
‘It doesn’t matter who it is, if it’s a person that’s posing a significant terror risk to our country, then we will do whatever is possible within Australian law to protect Australians.’
Source: Daily Mail