2014 Australian counter-terrorism raids
On the morning of 18 September 2014, police in Australia carried out the biggest counter-terrorism operation in the nation's history, with over 800 heavily armed officers targeting households in the cities of Sydney and Brisbane. It came days after the Australian government raised the terror threat from medium to high due to concerns about Australian citizens returning to the country after fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Following the raids, two people were charged, one with terrorism offences and the other for possession of an unauthorised firearm.. One of the two arrestees became one of only two men on remand at the highest security prison in Australia, as he is considered an "AA" security risk.
25 homes were raided in Bass Hill, Revesby, Regents Park and elsewhere. The raids were triggered after the interception of one phone call. Computers, documents and a firearm were collected during the raid. Fifteen people were detained and eleven people were subsequently charged with terrorism offences.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated that a senior Australian member of ISIL had called for "demonstration killings" including a public beheading. Omarjan Azari, 22, was charged with conspiring to commit these acts.. Azari was charged with "attempting to make funds available to a terrorist organization.". Azari is held on Australia's maximum security prison, where he became the first person on remand ever sent there, and there are Federal Court orders "control orders" that prohibit certain people from communicating with him.
Guilty Plea and Supreme Court Trial of 2017Edit
Prior to his Supreme Court Trial, Azari in December 2015, pled guilty to trying to provide funds to Islamic State.. The Supreme Court trial of Azari that had convened in late April 2017 was aborted by a Justice, as some of the accused in the separate 2015 Parramata Shooting also figure in the Azari case, and the judge considered the jury may be prejudiced. A new trial for Azari will begin in November 2017.
The cancellation of passports of those wanting to fight overseas for extremists causes as well as resentment towards Australia's role in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been raised as possible motivations behind the alleged terrorist planning. After the raids, Imraan Husain, an Imam from the Gold Coast, warned that sending troops to the Middle East could marginalise local Muslim youth, especially those who follow jihadists on social media.
Between 200 and 400 Muslims in Sydney protested the raids at Lakemba railway station the night after the morning raids. The protesters, organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, cited "police brutality" and "political hysteria". Wassim Doureihi, a prominent member of the group, said "Let me say clearly even if a single bomb went off even if a thousand bombs went off in this country all it will prove is that Muslims are angry."
- "Australian police carry out biggest counter-terrorism raid". BBC News. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- "Counter-terrorism raids: five unanswered questions". The Guardian. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Michael Safi (3 September 2015). "Omarjan Azari to remain in Goulburn's Supermax jail over terrorism charges". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
Azari has been classified AA – the state’s highest security rating – and is one of just two people confined inside the Supermax facility while on remand.
- "Terror raids in Bass Hill, Revesby and Regents Park as part of Australia's largest anti-terrorism operation". dailytelegraph.com.au. News Corporation. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Paul Bibby (18 September 2014). "Man arrested in terrorist raids appears in court". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Ian Lloyd Neubauer (19 September 2014). "Australian Police Foil Islamist Terrorist Plot in Country's Largest Ever Raid". Time. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "Sydney 'terror targets' identified in seized documents, two men charged". ABC News. ABC-Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- "Australia raids over 'Islamic State plot to behead'". BBC News. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- Andrew Lynch; Nicola McGarrity; George Williams (March 1, 2015). Inside Australia's Anti-Terrorism Laws and Trials. https://books.google.it/books?id=svh4CAAAQBAJ&pg=PT63&lpg=PT63&dq=Omarjan+Azari&source=bl&ots=yNREGfqvgm&sig=2fDYHVH3c9ytVgTTZGE4HyHnrDU&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Omarjan%20Azari&f=false: NewSouth. p. 256. ISBN 9781742241951.
- Louise Hall (20 August 2015). "Judge questions why terrorism accused Omarjan Azari is on remand in Supermax". The Sidney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
Mr Azari became the first person to be held on remand in Supermax.
- GINA RUSHTON (14 March 2016). "Sydney man under terror control order will stay behind bars". The Australian. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
The control order named 18 alleged Sydney extremists with whom he is not to associate including those accused of offences in connection with the murder of NSW Police accountant Curtis Cheng outside Parramatta police headquarters in October and Omarjan Azari, 23, who is accused of plotting to murder a random member of the public in the name of Islamic State.
- Karl Hoerr (24 April 2017). "Sydney man spoke to Islamic State about carrying out attack in Australia, court hears". ABC. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
Sydney man spoke to Islamic State about carrying out attack in Australia, court hears
- "Man arrested in Sydney raids pleads guilty to sending funds to Isis". The Guardian. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
Omarjan Azari, 22, changes not guilty plea to guilty following evidence from former associate who became a prosecution witness
- CHRIS HOOK (3 May 2017). "OMARJAN AZARI TRIAL OVER TERRORISM PREPARATION CHARGES ABORTED". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
Talal Alameddine, 24, Milad Atai, 21, and Mustafa Dirani, 23, have been subject to a committal hearing over their alleged role in the murder of Mr Cheng, and featured in stories published by a range of Sydney media including the ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph. Some of those men would also feature in the Azari trial, she said.
- Greg Stoltz (20 September 2014). "Australia risks breeding more homegrown terrorists by sending troops to Middle East, warns Muslim leader". The Daily Telegraph. News Lmtd. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- Allard, Tom (18 September 2014). "Muslim community apprehension after raids leads to 'snap protest'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 September 2014.