MELBOURNE: An Australian nurse who allegedly joined Islamic State in Syria was yesterday remanded in custody on terror charges relating to carrying out guard duty and reconnaissance for the militants. Adam Brookman, a 39-year-old father-of-five, is accused of knowingly providing support to IS between April 2010 and August 2014 to help “prepare or foster” a terrorist act. No bail was applied for and he was remanded until November 16. Brookman voluntarily returned home from the wartorn country late Friday after surrendering to officials in Turkey last week.
Ahead of his arrival back in Australia, he claimed to Fairfax Media that he carried out humanitarian work in Syria and was forced to join IS after being injured and sent to territory it controlled. Knowingly providing support to a terrorist organization carries a maximum jail term of 25 years. Brookman also faces up to 10 years in prison for a second charge of performing services with the intention of supporting a person, or persons, to engage in a hostile activity in a foreign state. Prosecutors asked the Melbourne Magistrates Court for extra time to gather evidence from overseas while defense lawyer Rob Stary argued that his client was not a risk to the public.
The Australian government has been vocal on insisting that anyone found to be engaged in terrorist activities would face the full force of the law with Canberra’s rhetoric stepped up in recent months. It comes as fears grow about the number of Australians fighting with jihadist groups and concern about the threat at home from radicalized individuals. The government says some 120 Australians have left to fight in Iraq or Syria with 160 actively supporting extremist organizations at home through financing and recruitment. Brookman’s case coincided with a teenager accused of supplying weapons for a foiled terrorist attack in Melbourne pleading guilty a host of charges yesterday.
Mehran Azami, 19, admitted 19 charges of importing more than 200 weapons, including knives, knuckle-dusters and tasers, linked to an alleged Islamic Stateinspired plot to target Anzac Day commemorations in April. A court previously heard that he allegedly passed some of the weapons to two 18-year-olds, Sevdet Besim and Harun Causevic, who were also arrested over the plot. They both face terrorism- related charges and remain in custody. Canberra raised the national terror threat level to high in September, and has conducted several counter-terrorism raids in various cities since then, foiling six attacks. —AFP