Australian Islamic State supporter’s chilling claim about child bomb victims revealed in court
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A western Sydney Islamic State supporter who visited the grave of the teenager who shot Curtis Cheng and proclaimed the killing of children in suicide bombings was justified could be released from jail next week.
Lawyers for Radwan Dakkak on Friday urged the NSW Supreme Court to release the 25-year-old immediately when he is sentenced for terrorism offences.
Dakkak will be sentenced by Justice Peter Hamill next Friday having pleaded guilty to two counts of associating with a member of a terrorist organisation.
The Toongabbie man has been in jail since his arrest during dramatic counter-terrorism raids across Sydney in July last year.
But he could walk free next week given the charges carry a maximum penalty of three years in jail.
According to court documents seen by News Corp Australia, Dakkak has admitted to associating with known members of IS, including a friend who is facing life in prison for terrorism charges and a sheik who is the subject of United Nations sanctions.
Dakkak came under police surveillance in December 2018 as part of a multi-organisation investigation into Australian-based IS supporters.
A statement of agreed facts reveals that on January 8 last year, he visited the grave of Farhad Jabar, who shot dead NSW Police employee Curtis Cheng in Parramatta in 2015.
He visited the southern Sydney cemetery alongside Hozan Alou, the brother of Raban Alou, who is serving 44 years in jail for providing the gun that was used to shoot Mr Cheng.
Dakkak operated several online and social media accounts that he used to post pro-IS material under different aliases, including “Abu Bakr At-Tarabulsi”.
In April 2019, he was caught conversing with someone in Sri Lanka who used the name “Al Hanbali”.
During the conversation, he spoke of his support for the Easter Sunday bombings of three hotels and three churches in Sri Lanka that killed 267 people, including two Australians, a few days earlier.
“On 23 April, 2019, a video was released via Twitter of those responsible for the attack pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and IS,” the court documents state.
“The offender told ‘Al Hanbali’ that the killing of children in the attacks was justified as they were collateral damage and not the intended targets.”
Between January 1 and July 2 last year, Dakkak also communicated with Isaac El Matari either by phone or in person.
El Matari has pleaded guilty to doing an act in preparation and planning for a terrorist act and engaging in preparations for incursions into foreign countries for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities, for which he faces life in prison.
It’s alleged he proclaimed himself the “general commander of IS Australia”, and Dakkak encouraged El Matari to travel to the Khorasan region in Afghanistan via Pakistan to take up arms with IS.
He also used Facebook and WhatsApp to communicate with Sheik Hassan Hussein and people at Ahlut-Tawhid Publications.
Hussein is an avowed member of IS, affiliated with an East African jihadist militant group and has been the subject of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council since 2011.
Ahlut-Tawhid Publications is an online publication that distributes copies of official IS magazines and English translations of religious texts supporting the radical group.
Dakkak used his social media accounts to post material produced by ATP, including its pro-IS magazine Dabiq to Rome and other IS propaganda.
In May last year, he was also recorded telling his mother and sister: “The best way to raise a child is to hate America and Australia.”
When he was arrested last year in a sweeping raid, which also netted El Matari, he was charged with being a member of a terror organisation, however, he negotiated with prosecutors to face lesser charges.
While it has not been alleged that he was planning a terrorist attack, as part of his plea he has admitted that he “provided support” to IS and that he intended “to assist the organisation to expand or continue”.
Dakkak’s barrister Troy Anderson told his client’s sentence hearing at Parramatta Supreme Court on Friday that the 18 months he had spent in prison, including 61 days in solitary confinement, was sufficient punishment.
“He has spent more than enough time in custody. This is a young man and this is a matter which is not an objectively serious offence and not an objectively serious example,” Mr Anderson said.
Mr Anderson argued that Dakkak’s association with IS was “benign”; however, Justice Hamill pointed out: “He did say the killing of children was justified.”
Mr Anderson argued that Dakkak was not encouraging anyone to carry out a terrorist attack and was putting a “religious spin” on the incident.
“He explained it was being done for a religious cause and it goes to his religious fixation,” Mr Anderson said.
Source: The Australian