One of Australia’s most notorious terrorists who planned to blow up the MCG could be released from jail after spending 18 years behind bars.
- Australia’s first convicted terrorist could be released
- Abdul Benbrika could be released from prison in November
Australia’s first convicted terrorist leader could be out of jail in a few months.
Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 60, has spent the last 18 years behind bars in a Victorian prison, but could be back on the streets in November.
Benbrika plotted to blow up the MCG on Grand Final Day and carry out terrorist attacks in Melbourne and Sydney and assassinate then-Prime Minister John Howard.
He was charged in 2005 and then sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2009 before his sentence expired in 2020.
Benbrika was then held for a further three years on a post-arrest warrant after fears were raised that he would re-offend if he were released from jail.
Australia’s first convicted terrorist leader could be out of jail in a few months
The Commonwealth is now trying to place him on an extended supervision order with an application to be filed on Monday.
Extended supervision orders are usually given to inmates once they are released from jail, signaling that authorities are preparing to release Benbrika back into society.
The orders were introduced in 2021 and empowered authorities to maintain close supervision of high-risk terrorist offenders. the aussie informed.
Benbrika will be monitored 24 hours a day with his phone, online activity, friends and movements closely watched by police.
You will also have to attend de-radicalization programs as part of the strict supervision order.
Benbrika was considered a continuing threat and was detained for another three years according to a terrorism assessment tool known as VERA-2R.
VERA-2R is short for Violent Extremism Risk Assessment and has been used by psychologists and counterterrorism experts to assess convicted terrorists.
Internal Affairs has described it as a valuable method of determining whether a convicted terrorist is still considered a risk for release.
The method has drawn criticism over concerns raised that it could be used to imprison someone without them having to commit a crime.
Leading academic Emily Corner was commissioned to report on the method before handing it over to Internal Affairs in May 2020.
The independent monitor for national security legislation, Grant Donaldson SC, said there were some serious concerns about its “validity and reliability”.
Benbrika plotted to blow up the MCG on Grand Final Day and carry out terror attacks in Melbourne and Sydney and assassinate then Prime Minister John Howard (file image)
Benbrika’s lawyers have questioned the validity of the tool and have launched legal action in an attempt to get their client out of jail.
Benbrika completed his 15-year sentence on 5 November 2020, but remained in custody after the Victorian High Court found he still held extremist views and was at high risk of reoffending.
Benbrika had appealed to the High Court, where his lawyers argued that the law was punishing him for what he could hypothetically do, not for what he had done.
Victorian judge Andrew Tinney said Benbrika had received visits in jail from people who later went to fight abroad.
“If the defendant had been visited by an apparently troublesome person many years ago, that would be one thing,” he said, reports ABC.
“But he was visited by 15 troublesome people over a few years from the time of his imprisonment.”
The Algerian-born terrorist who arrived in Australia in 1989 became the country’s first convicted terrorist leader.
Benbrika once said that his group of followers needed to kill at least 1,000 non-believers in order for the Australian government to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2005 police recordings, Benrika was heard telling his followers: ‘If we want to die for jihad, we must take maximum damage. maximum damage. Damage their buildings, everything. Damage their lives’.
The Australian government canceled Benbrika’s citizenship in 2020.
Then-Interior Minister Peter Dutton said Benbrika would be sent back to Algeria once he was released.