Australia puts sanctions on Islamic State recruiter in Syria

Jun 3, 2015, 11:06 PM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia on Thursday imposed financial sanctions on a 23-year-old Australian man accused of becoming a high-profile recruiter for the Islamic State movement in Syria, who invites women to join him and urges young jihadis online to strike at home.

Neil Prakash, a former Buddhist from Melbourne city who is also known by the jihadi name Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, appeared in an Islamic State recruitment video in April, days after police arrested five Melbourne teenagers and charged two of them over an alleged plot to attack police during a Veterans’ Day service.

Two weeks later, a 17-year-old Melbourne boy was charged with planning another attack with three homemade pipe bombs.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Prakash was listed for targeted financial sanctions, which make it a crime to deal with Prakash’s assets or to provide him with material support. The offense carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison.

Prakash, who is of Fijian and Cambodian background, is the latest of 93 individuals and entities around the world to be targeted by Australia with such sanctions.

“Prakash has sought to commission violent terrorist acts, including in Australia, and to recruit others including young Australian women and girls to travel to Syria and Iraq to join the Daesh terrorists,” Bishop told Parliament, referring to the Islamic State movement.

“Prakash incited vulnerable young people to commit violent extremist acts, including in Australia,” she said.

The government estimates that more than 100 Australians have joined terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. Up to half of them are dual nationals.

The government plans to introduce legislation soon that would allow dual nationals suspected of terrorism to be stripped of their Australian citizenship even if they have not been convicted of a crime.

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Australia puts sanctions on Islamic State recruiter in Syria