Raids Result In The Arrest Of Three Men For Terrorism Offences

, Raids Result In The Arrest Of Three Men For Terrorism Offences

Raids Result In The Arrest Of Three Men For Terrorism Offences

In breaking news today, it was reported that an alleged terror plot in Sydney was uncovered by NSW Police and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) after twelve months of investigations. The NSW Joint Counter-Terrorism (JCTT) investigation has resulted in the arrest of three men. The investigation group is comprised of the AFP, NSW Police Force, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the NSW Crime Commission. The group was formed with the aim of targeting a group of people alleged to support the Islamic State terrorist group. Raids were conducted across western Sydney, with six search warrants being executed, this morning by the NSW JCTT, overseen by the AFP. These raids were conducted at Canada Bay, Chester Hill, Greenacre, Green Valley, Ingleburn and Toongabbie, with activity anticipated to continue through to tomorrow.

WHAT DID THESE MEN DO?

The men arrested are aged 20, 23, and 30. They will be getting charged on Tuesday with different criminal offences.

The 20-year-old, from Greenacre, can be expected to be charged with preparation for a terrorist act and engage in preparations for incursions into foreign countries for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities. It will be alleged in Court that he made early-stage preparations and had expressed an intention to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia. It is alleged that he indicated a range of targets, including prominent Sydney landmarks, embassies and Court buildings, but had not selected a specific target or time to do so.

The man also apparently indicated that he had a willingness to travel to Afghanistan to fight with Islamic State. He had been monitored for 12 months after returning to Australia from Lebanon, where he was known to authorities over there.

He, along with the 23-year-old, from Toongabbie, will be charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation, namely Islamic State. In Court it will be alleged that both men identified as members of Islamic State to other people that are like-minded. The 23-year-old is allegedly a prominent figure in the global online extremist community.

The 30-year-old man, from Chester Hill, is expected to be charged with obtaining a financial benefit by deception, namely fraudulently claiming Commonwealth unemployment benefits.

These men are due to be charged at Parramatta Local Court tomorrow.

The Threats Of Terrorism

“There is no immediate threat to the safety of community as a result of this activity,” an AFP spokesperson said. Referring to the activity of conducting raids and executing search warrants.

“Further details about this will be provided when appropriate.”

It’s understood the operation targeted the men because of what they were posting and discussing online. NSW Police Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing, said “the primary threat of terrorism comes directly from individuals with extremist ideologies, but the secondary threat is their ability to influence others – particularly through the internet.”

THE OFFENCES

The Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (the Criminal Code) is the source for anti-terrorist law. The men are expected to be charged with the following offences:

Section 101.6 of the Criminal Code: Other acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts

(1)  A person commits an offence if the person does any act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for life.

(2)  A person commits an offence under subsection (1) even if:

(a)  a terrorist act does not occur; or

(b)  the person’s act is not done in preparation for, or planning, a specific terrorist act; or

(c)  the person’s act is done in preparation for, or planning, more than one terrorist act.

Section 119.4 Preparations for incursions into foreign countries for purpose of engaging in hostile activities

Preparatory acts

(1)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person engages in conduct (whether within or outside Australia); and

(b)  the conduct is preparatory to the commission of an offence against section 119.1 (whether by that or any other person); and

(c)  when the person engages in the conduct, the person:

(i)  is an Australian citizen; or

(ii)  is a resident of Australia; or

(iii)  is a holder under the Migration Act 1958 of a visa; or

(iv)  has voluntarily put himself or herself under the protection of Australia; or

(v)  is a body corporate incorporated by or under a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for life.

102.3   Membership of a terrorist organisation

(1)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person intentionally is a member of an organisation; and

(b)  the organisation is a terrorist organisation; and

(c)  the person knows the organisation is a terrorist organisation.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 10 years.

And

134.2   Obtaining a financial advantage by deception

(1)  A person commits an offence if:

(a)  the person, by a deception, dishonestly obtains a financial advantage from another person; and

(b)  the other person is a Commonwealth entity.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 10 years.

POLITICAL RESPONSE

As with any event in the realm of domestic terrorism in Australia, politicians typically respond with the proposing of a harsh new Bill to create more stringent laws involving Australian citizens who travel overseas to IS-affected countries and pose a risk to safety once they return.

The latest proposal following today’s arrests would allow the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to revoke someone’s citizenship and deport them for any terror offence as long as he was reasonably sure they were citizens of another nation. What is ‘reasonable’ can be entirely subjective and is always a grey area in the law. It would be contrary to international law if Australia were to strip a person of their citizenship if they held no other citizenship, because this would render the individual stateless. The current law allows citizenship to be stripped if a convicted terrorist gets more than 6 years imprisonment.

There are concerns being raised from the Law Council of Australia about the effect of the proposed laws on fundamental rules of law which our democracy is built on, namely, the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, and the right of appeal. The removal of citizenship creates grave challenges to these very principles. The Council reminds the government that the laws must be both necessary and proportionate and can still be effective to counter terrorism.

To read about the recent terror attacks that occurred in New Zealand earlier this year, or in Sri Lanka, follow the links.

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