Australian father-of-eight accused of supporting Syrian terrorist

Australian father-of-eight accused of supporting Syrian terrorist

An Australian father-of-eight will remain behind bars after he was denied bail during his first appearance in a Queensland court, accused of helping a terrorist arrange to travel to Syria to fight against government forces in 2013.

Ahmed Luqman Talib, 31, from Doncaster East in Melbourne’s north-east, was extradited from Victoria and applied for bail in Brisbane Arrest Courts on Monday after he and Gabriel Crazzi, 34, from Chambers Flat, south of Brisbane, were arrested in a counter-terrorism sting on Thursday.

Mr Talib is charged with one count of preparations for foreign incursions into foreign states for purpose of engaging in hostile activities between September 1, 2013 and October 1, 2020.

He was born in Britain, left there aged four and eventually made his way to Australia. His father is a biostatistics professor and Mr Talib runs the family gemstone business, Talib & Sons.

Mr Talib completed a bachelor of international relations at Bond University on the Gold Coast in 2012.

Prosecutor Clare O’Connor said Mr Talib allegedly provided “information and advice for the safe passage of witness 1 into Syria”. The witness co-operated with the Australian Federal Police, which led to the arrests.

“Witness 1 provided direct evidence of the applicant meeting him and introducing him to another person who could help with travel to Syria,” Ms O’Connor told the Brisbane Arrest Court on Monday.

“The Crown case is comprised of investigations and analysis of movements and communications between these persons [the three at the alleged meeting] over a number of years.

“The applicant took steps to conceal his behaviour, he has previously used an encrypted mobile device.

“The applicant at the very least, it is alleged, has associated with other persons who have promoted terrorism and they include the co-offender Mr Crazzi.”

Ms O’Connor also referred to a US Treasury media release on October 19 last year that described Mr Talib as an “Australia-based al-Qaeda-associated facilitator” and said he “provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, al-Qaeda”.

In arguing against bail being granted, Ms O’Connor said Mr Talib was “a person who has the capacity to obtain false travel documents” and “he is eligible to apply for Sri Lankan citizenship”.

Defence barrister Leon Ackermann said Mr Talib’s wife and eight children, two sets of twins aged three months and 2½ years and the other children aged four to 10, depended on him.

His wife is an Australian citizen and some of his children are in school in Australia.

Mr Ackermann argued there were weaknesses in the Crown case and the allegations against Mr Talib were nowhere near as serious as the seven charges against his co-accused, Mr Crazzi.

He also said Mr Talib had little criminal history, was the breadwinner for his family and there could be “devastating consequences” if he were to be remanded in custody for a long period.

In the end, Mr Talib’s bail application was refused and the matter was adjourned to a committal mention in Brisbane Magistrates Court on June 25.

Source: Brisbane Times