Alleged terrorist Neil Prakash lands in Australia to face terrorism charges


He declined legal representation and remained silent when Judge Morris asked him to confirm his identity.

Victorian Detective Senior Constable Andrew Gibney told the court Parkash had been identified by distinct scars and a tattoo on his chest.

Prakash’s arrival comes days after it was confirmed diplomatic authorities had negotiated for his return to Australia.

He arrived in Australia on the same chartered flight as Tony Haddad, an alleged crime figure extradited from Turkey following an extensive manhunt.

Prakash was captured near the Syrian border while allegedly attempting to cross into Turkey with fake documents in 2016.

He was held in a Turkish jail and later moved to an immigration detention facility.

Neil Prakash arriving in Australia on Friday.Credit:AFP

Then-home affairs minister Peter Dutton revoked Prakash’s citizenship in 2018 based on the allegation he had engaged in terrorist activity and was Fijian. That decision made him the 12th Australian to be stripped of citizenship on grounds related to terrorism.

“If given the opportunity, Mr Prakash would harm or kill Australians, and our country is a safer place for him having lost his Australian citizenship,” Dutton claimed at the time.

But Fijian immigration officials insisted Prakash – who was born in Melbourne to a Fijian father – has never held or sought citizenship of their country.

The High Court in June struck down laws, introduced by the Abbott government, that allowed dual citizens to be stripped of their Australian citizenship if they are suspected of engaging in terrorist activity overseas.

In 2015, Australian Federal Police issued an arrest warrant for Prakash, saying he was wanted on charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation and for ­incursions into a foreign state with the intention of engaging in ­hostile activities.

In a shock 2018 ruling, a Turkish court rejected the Australian government’s request to extradite Prakash to face terrorism charges in Australia.

The AFP have been heavily negotiating with Turkish authorities for the return of a number of targets overseas.

Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan said any wanted Australians in Turkey would be extradited.

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“We are relentless in relation to tracking down these people who [allegedly] seek to do harm in Australia,” Ryan said on Friday.

“We will relentlessly track them down, get them back and have them face justice here.”

In footage of the deportation released by the AFP, a handcuffed Prakash was seen exiting a white four-wheel-drive before being escorted by two officers inside a building.

He was wearing a dark jumper, black tracksuit pants, and a backward cap. Prakash also appears to have trimmed back his hair but continues to sport a long beard.

In a brief statement, the force said there was no threat to the Australian community. “Given the matter is now before the court, no further comment will be made,” the statement read.

With AAP

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