Terrorist ‘guiding light’ Abdul Nacer Benbrika bid to get out of jail

Caroline SchelleNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

A convicted terrorist leader who professed admiration for Osama bin Laden argues he shouldn’t have been given extra time behind bars.

Abdul Nacer Benbrika has spent 15 years behind bars after he was found guilty and jailed for being the leader of Australia’s largest terrorist network. His sentence expired last year.

But lawyers for the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton successfully argued to keep him in jail until 2023 under a continuing detention order.

ABC TV video still of self-styled Islamic radical Abdul Nacer Benbrika (aka Abu Bakr) during an interview with ABC-TV at his home in Melbourne.
Camera IconSelf-styled Islamic radical Abdul Nacer Benbrika (aka Abu Bakr) during an interview with ABC-TV at his home in Melbourne. ABC Credit: Supplied

The terror leader’s lawyer Dan Star QC appeared in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday and said the judge who ordered Benbrika to stay behind bars should have identified the specific serious offences that made the fanatic an “unacceptable risk” of committing crimes if released.

He also argued another ground was that the original judge made an error in law on admissibility of evidence in the case and risk assessments.

But government barrister Andrew Berger QC argued it was not necessary to specify the exact charges under the act.

The Algerian-born Benbrika headed cells that discussed targeting the AFL grand final in Melbourne, Crown Casino and a nuclear reactor in Sydney.

15/09/2008 LIBRARY: 05/08/2005: Self-styled Islamic radical Nacer Benbrika (Abu Bakr) in video still during interview with ABC-TV at his home in Melbourne.
Camera IconBenbrika is appealing a decision to keep him behind bars for an extra three years. ABC Credit: News Limited

He was first arrested in 2005 as one of more than a dozen people caught up with Operation Pendennis, one of the country’s largest counter-terrorism investigations.

The terror leader was a known supporter of Osama bin Laden and was described as the “guiding light” of the terror network.

In 2017 Benbrika’s bid for parole was refused.

He was ordered to spend an extra three years behind bars in December 2020 and his citizenship was also revoked.

The hearing will continue on Wednesday.

Originally published as Terrorist ‘guiding light’ Abdul Nacer Benbrika bid to get out of jail

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