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Turkey rejects Australia's request to extradite Fijian-Indian jihadist: Reports

In the court, the Turkish prosecutor called for Prakash to be extradited to Australia.

PTI Australia
Updated: 20-07-2018 17:58 IST

A Turkish court has rejected Australia's request to extradite notorious Islamic State terrorist Neil Prakash, a Fijian-Indian and the most-wanted jihadist in Australia, media reports said today.

Prakash, once labelled the most prominent recruiter for the dreaded terror group, was arrested in Turkey in 2016 after crossing from Syria. He later admitted partial blame for Islamic State group terror plots in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The judge made the ruling yesterday in the Kilis Criminal Court in southern Turkey, two months after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he expected the self-confessed, Melbourne-born IS member to be extradited to face trial in Australia "within months".

In the court, the Turkish prosecutor called for Prakash to be extradited to Australia.

When asked for his response by the court, Prakash launched into an attack on the judge in a mix of English, Arabic and Turkish.

"Allah is the legislator, not him," the 27-year-old ISIS jihadist said.

Reacting to Turkish Court's decision, Prime Minister Turnbull said his government "will do everything we can to ensure Prakash is brought to account for his crimes. He is a threat to the security of Australia and, indeed, of the region."

"We'll be working closely with the Turkish authorities to see how we can ensure that he is brought back to face justice in Australian courts," he said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Government was disappointed the request for extradition had been rejected but said Australia would continue to engage with Turkish authorities as it considered appealing against the decision.

"We will also continue to follow the case related to Prakash's ISIS activities when the court reconvenes in September," Bishop said.

Prakash has been held in a maximum-security jail in Gaziantep, in southern Turkey, since he was captured in October 2016 trying to sneak across the border from Syria using fake identity papers, the report said.

Prakash, also known by the alias Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, was described by former attorney-general George Brandis as "the principal Australian reaching back from the Middle East into Australia".

According to senior counter-terrorism officials, Prakash was a pivotal figure inspiring and encouraging terrorist plots in Australia.

He appeared in IS propaganda video urging attacks in Australia and has been linked by the FBI to a failed plot to attack the Statue of Liberty in New York, it said.

Prakash is the subject of an Australian Federal Police arrest warrant for "membership of a terrorist organisation", "advocating terrorism", "providing support to a terrorist organisation" and "incursions into foreign countries with the intention of engaging in hostile activities".

Canberra announced financial sanctions against Prakash in 2015, including anyone giving him financial assistance, with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.

Australia raised its national terror threat level to "high" for the first time in 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalised in Iraq or Syria.

Australia believes more than 100 of its citizens were fighting in the region.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

COUNTRY : AustraliaTurkey