Australian with alleged IS links charged with terrorism offences
An Australian nurse was charged with terrorism offences for allegedly supporting the Islamic State group in Syria on Sunday after he voluntarily returned home from the troubled country.
The 39-year-old Melbourne father of five, named in local media as Islamic convert Adam Brookman, briefly faced a Melbourne court on Sunday after surrendering himself to officials in Turkey on Tuesday, Australian Federal Police said.
Brookman, who arrived back in Australia on Friday night, was charged with one count of knowingly providing support to a terrorist organisation, IS, which carries a maximum jail time of 25 years.
He 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.
"Matters such as this ultimately concern community safety, and we make no apology in taking action against people who may bring a radicalised ideology, and potentially other skills, back to Australia," Neil Gaughan, federal police national manager for counter-terrorism Assistant Commissioner, said in a statement.
"There is no evidence of a threat in Australia in this instance, and the ongoing safety of the community was the primary factor in all of the arrangements made to facilitate this individual's return to Australia."
Brookman made no application for bail in his brief appearance in Melbourne Magistrates' Court and was remanded in custody for a hearing on Monday.
He told Fairfax Media in an interview earlier this week he carried out humanitarian work in Syria and was forced to join the jihadist group after being injured and sent to IS-controlled territory.
Brookman added that he eventually fled the militants and was hiding out in Turkey and wanting to return home.
The Australian government has been increasingly concerned about the flow of fighters to Iraq and Syria to join extremist groups such as IS, saying some 120 Australians are in the region with 160 supporting militants at home.
Canberra raised the terror threat level to high in September, and has conducted several counter-terrorism raids in various cities since then.
The government has also passed a number of national security laws and last month introduced legislation to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship for terrorism links. It is not clear whether Brookman is a dual national.
The charges against Brookman came as the parents of 23-year-old Reece Harding, from the Gold Coast, prepared to farewell their son in a Kurdish funeral service in Melbourne. Harding died after he stepped on a landmine while fighting with Kurdish forces against IS in Syria.