Turkish court rejects Australian request for alleged ISIS recruiter
A Turkish court has rejected a request to extradite Neil Prakash, a man once labeled Australia’s most prominent ISIS recruiter and most-wanted terrorist.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his government “will do everything we can to ensure Neil Prakash is brought to account for his crimes. He is a threat to the security of Australia and, indeed, of the region.”
“We’ll be working closely with the Turkish authorities to see how we can ensure that he is brought back to face justice in Australian courts,” he said.
The alleged ISIS recruiter appeared in a number of propaganda videos in English, in which he told his personal story, exhorted Australians to “rise up” and invited them to join the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
Prakash was believed to have been killed in a US airstrike in 2016. Months later however, he was captured in Turkey while trying to cross into Syria, according to media reports at the time.
Australian authorities have sought his extradition ever since. In May, Turnbull told Australia’s 7 News he expected Prakash, who is from Melbourne, to be extradited to back to Australia within 12 months.
Prakash has been linked to several several planned attacks in Australia, including a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police office, according to CNN Australian affiliate Channel 9.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said her office had been working with Turkish authorities toward Prakash’s extradition, and would continue to do so as prosecutors there considered whether to appeal the court’s decision.
Peter Dutton, the Australian Home Affairs Minister, told local media that while his country does desire the alleged terrorist’s extradition, he was happy that Prakash was in prison in Turkey.
“From our perspective, there is a desire to extradite him but we respect the outcome in Turkey. But as I said, if he’s rotting in a Turkish jail, that’s fine by me,” Dutton said.