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Gold Coast Man Who Joined Armed Conflict in Syria Jailed

A Gold Coast man who fought with a terrorist organisation in Syria was today (27 June 2023) jailed by the Queensland Supreme Court for eight years and two months.

The Gold Coast man, 34, pleaded guilty in November, 2022, to three terrorism charges linked to his involvement in the Syrian Civil War, where he engaged in armed conflict against Assad regime as part of a group aligned with proscribed terrorist organisation Jabhat Al-Nusra as well as advocating for acts of terrorism in the West.

The Queensland Joint Counter Terrorism Team (Qld JCTT), comprised of the AFP, Queensland Police Service and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, arrested and charged the man in 2019.

He left Australia in 2013 and travelled to Turkiye from where he made trips into Syria between 2014 and 2016.

The man was detained in Turkiye in 2018 and held in custody before he was deported to Australia in December 2019.

On 25 November 2022 the man pleaded guilty to three charges:

  • One count of incursions into foreign states with the intention of engaging in hostile activities, contrary to section 6(1) (b) of the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 (Cth);
  • One count of advocating terrorism contrary to section 80.2C (1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of incursions into foreign counties with the intention of engaging in hostile activities contrary to section 119.1(2) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The man’s sentence included a non-parole period of six years and one and a half months.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism Krissy Barrett said the investigation highlighted how the AFP’s international network gave it a unique ability to reach across international borders to investigate and prosecute terrorists.

“This investigation was long and complex, involving law enforcement partners here in Australia and overseas in the Middle-East,” she said.

“The safety of the Australian community is always our prime concern and this result shows the AFP’s ongoing commitment to protecting Australians from the threat of violent extremism.”

QPS Security and Counter-Terrorism Command Acting Assistant Commissioner Christopher Jory said: “combating terrorism and violent extremism is a global challenge, and one which we cannot defeat alone.”

“We rely of the cooperative efforts of our national and international partners to keep the community safe,” he said. 

“I commend the dedication and professionalism of our counter-terrorism investigation teams, and their commitment to disrupting and apprehending those who advocate or participate in terrorism and violent extremist activities.”

Source : AFP Gov