Australian Islamic State recruiter Neil Prakash sentenced to jail in Turkey

Updated March 16, 2019 01:43:01

Melbourne-born Islamic State recruiter Neil Prakash has been sentenced to seven-and-a-half years’ jail in Turkey.

Prakash has been held in a maximum-security jail in Gaziantep, in southern Turkey, since he was captured in October 2016 while trying to sneak across the border from Syria using fake identity papers.

He is believed to have left for Syria in 2013, where he changed his name to Abu Khaled al-Cambodi and was put on a US kill list.

While there, the self-confessed Islamic State member was “the principal Australian reaching back from the Middle East into Australia,” former attorney-general George Brandis said.

Senior counter-terrorism officials have said Prakash was a pivotal figure and had appeared in IS propaganda urging attacks in Australia.

He has been linked by the FBI to a failed plot to attack the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Before his time as an IS terrorist, Prakash was a gang member with a drug problem and a failed hip hop artist.

After converting to Islam, he had attended Melbourne’s controversial Al-Furqan Islamic Centre.

In December, the Federal Government revoked Prakash’s rights as an Australian citizen because of his affiliation with IS and argued it could strip his citizenship because it had “clear advice” he had, or was entitled to, Fijian citizenship.

Prakash was born in Melbourne to a Fijian father and Cambodian mother.

But Fiji’s Immigration Director Nemani Vuniwaqa told the ABC there was no evidence of Prakash or his parents ever being Fijian citizens.

In delivering sentence on Friday, the court confirmed Prakash could be released in two-and-a-half years under Turkish law.

ABC/AP

Topics: terrorism, law-crime-and-justice, turkey, australia

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p class=”published”> First posted March 16, 2019 00:24:44

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