ISIS kingpin is to RETURN to Australia to face court

ISIS kingpin who encouraged attacks on Sydney and Melbourne set to RETURN to Australia to face court and a potential life sentence

  • Neil ­Prakash, 31, was in prison in Turkey for six years over role with Islamic State 
  • Born in Melbourne, he is now set to return to Victoria to face trial over IS links 
  • A date hasn’t been set for his return but Prakash could now face life in prison 

A Melbourne-born ISIS kingpin will return to Australia to face life in prison on terrorism charges. 

Neil ­Prakash, 31, was in prison in Turkey for six years for his role with ISIS and has been held in an immigration detention centre since his release in February. 

However, after the High Court blocked the last government’s citizenship-stripping laws, Australia have been locked in negotiations with Turkey over Prakash’s future.

Now, he is set to return to Australia to face trial at the Supreme Court of Victoria. 

A date has not been set for his return, which comes amid fierce debate over returning ISIS brides and their families. 

Neil ­Prakash, 31, was in prison in Turkey for six years for his role with ISIS and has been held in an immigration detention centre since his release in February

Neil ­Prakash, 31, was in prison in Turkey for six years for his role with ISIS and has been held in an immigration detention centre since his release in February

Prakash appeared in several propaganda videos for ISIS and took up arms for the terror group in Syria

Prakash appeared in several propaganda videos for ISIS and took up arms for the terror group in Syria

Prakash appeared in several propaganda videos for ISIS – encouraging attacks on Melbourne and Sydney – and took up arms for the terror group in Syria. 

In Turkey, he pleaded not guilty to being a member of a terrorist ­organisation in but was convicted after a lengthy trial in Kilis, and sentenced to seven and a half years jail. 

During his trial, he admitted joining Islamic State but denied being a leader of the group.

He also said he regretted his association with the group.

The former rap singer was also linked to a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police officer and had connections to a number of Australian jihadis.

He was stripped of his Australian citizenship and had his passport cancelled on December 21, 2018.

However, in June, the High Court ruled that the government’s ability to strip citizenship is invalid, paving the way for Prakash to have his citizenship restored, according to the Australian

In Turkey, he pleaded not guilty to being a member of a terrorist ­organisation in but was convicted after a lengthy trial in Kilis, and sentenced to seven and a half years jail

In Turkey, he pleaded not guilty to being a member of a terrorist ­organisation in but was convicted after a lengthy trial in Kilis, and sentenced to seven and a half years jail

Prakash was born in Melbourne, of Fijian and Cambodian descent. He was raised a Buddhist

Prakash was born in Melbourne, of Fijian and Cambodian descent. He was raised a Buddhist

The former rap singer was also linked to a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police officer and had connections to a number of Australian jihadis

The former rap singer was also linked to a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police officer and had connections to a number of Australian jihadis

Prakash was an active recruiter for ISIS, as well as a propagandist and facilitator for foreign fighters seeking to join the terror group.

He had connections to several Australian jihadis, including Numan Haider, 18, who was shot dead after attacking two police ­officers at Endeavour Hills in Melbourne in September 2014.

Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton, now the Opposition Leader, previously said about Prakash: ‘People should recognise, if given the opportunity, Mr Prakash would harm and kill ­Australians.’

In 2016, then-attorney-general George Brandis described Prakash as ‘the highest value target from an Australian point of view in the Middle East’.

NEIL PRAKASH: FROM MELBOURNE BUDDHIST TO ISIS FIGHTER AND RECRUITER 

Prakash (pictured) was arrested in 2016 when he crossed the Syrian border into Turkey after fighting in Syria and Iraq

Prakash (pictured) was arrested in 2016 when he crossed the Syrian border into Turkey after fighting in Syria and Iraq

1991

Neil Prakash is born in Melbourne, of Fijian and Cambodian descent. He was raised a Buddhist

2012

He converts to Islam and attends the controversial al-Furqan Islamic Centre in Melbourne

2013

Prakash leaves Australia to join the Islamic State in Syria. Takes the jihadi name Abu Khaled al-Cambodi and appears in IS propaganda videos. Recruits would-be terrorists in Australia

2014

His Australian passport is cancelled

2015

Australian federal police issue a warrant for his arrest through Interpol

Prakash is linked to a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police officer on Anzac Day 2015

Prakash publicly praises Numan Haider, the 18-year-old who was killed after stabbing two police officers outside a Melbourne police station in 2014

2016

April

The US – incorrectly – announces Prakash has been killed in a drone strike 

October

Prakash is captured by Turkish authorities trying to cross from Syria using false documents and imprisoned on terrorism-related charges 

2018

July

A Turkish court rejects Australia’s application for his extradition and a judge orders his release. Moments later, he is back behind bars to face local terror charges

September

Prakash claims the Islamic State forced him to take part in propaganda videos and recruit members because he was Australian

December

Prakash admits he feels ‘regret’ for his participation with Islamic State. ‘I feel regret for joining the Islamic State and for the time I spent with them. I feel repentant,’ he said

He is stripped of his Australian citizenship

2019 

March 

Prakash is sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in a Turkish prison

2022

February  

Prakash is released from jail but is being held in an immigration detention centre

Source

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