An accused Islamic State recruiter has been extradited to NSW and charged with six offences over his alleged efforts to support the terrorist group in Syria.
Mohamed Zuhbi, 30, was flown to Melbourne earlier this month from Turkey, where he served an 18-month prison sentence for his activities with Islamic State.
Mohamed Zuhbi, pictured in 2014, has been charged for alleged recruiting activities on behalf of Islamic State.
Mr Zuhbi, formerly of Sydney, travelled to Turkey in 2013 before entering Syria, where he allegedly facilitated the travel of foreign fighters to join Islamic State.
While overseas, Mr Zuhbi appeared live on an SBS Insight program about Islamic State in 2014.
On the show, Mr Zuhbi said he was not directly involved in combat or part of a specific group but was comfortable for others to fight for their Islamist beliefs.
“Any freedom fighting group that has emerged in the last 10 years has been listed as a terrorist organisation when in reality, they’re simply freedom fighters fighting for the state of Islam,” he said.
The Australian Federal Police launched an investigation into Mr Zuhbi’s travel and have charged him with supporting a terrorist organisation, incursions into a foreign state to engage in hostile activity, providing support to others to engage in hostile activity in a foreign state, and entering a declared area for terrorist activity.
The three counts of supporting others to engage in hostile activity relate to the travel of two Australians and an American.
The offences carry heavy penalties of up to 25 years in prison.
Mr Zuhbi spent two weeks in quarantine with Victorian authorities, in line with COVID-19 travel restrictions, after his arrest at the airport.
Following his arrival in Sydney and charges being laid, Mr Zuhbi appeared briefly via video link at Sydney Central Local Court on Tuesday afternoon. He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.
The matter will return to court on August 18.
Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, came to prominence in 2011 and established control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
The group was eventually beaten back by US-led coalition forces, losing almost all of its territory and declared defeated by 2019.
However, remnants of the group – which has encouraged terrorist attacks against Western targets – survive in the Middle East and other regions.
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