News National Alleged ISIL fighter stripped of Australian passport

Alleged ISIL fighter stripped of Australian passport

Foreign Affairs Minster Julie Bishop cancelled the passport on on May 7, 2014.
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An Australian has been stripped of his passport amid suspicions he wanted to travel to Syria to fight with Islamic State militants.

However the 27-year-old, identified in official documents as RZBV, maintained he wanted to fly to Turkey to see extended family and get married.

His passport was cancelled by Foreign Affairs Minster Julie Bishop on May 7, 2014 because ASIO believed he planned to travel on to Syria and engage in violent activities in support of ISIL.

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ASIO also deemed the man a likely threat to Australia and foreign countries if he travelled on his Australian passport, issued in 2009.

Upon being notified of the cancellation of his passport, the man contacted ASIO on May 8, 2014.

He said that when he was interviewed by the Australian Federal Police immediately before his intended departure from Australia, he was asked whether he planned to travel to the Turkey/Syria border.

The man told the ASIO officers that he did not know anything about Syria other than what he had read in an article shown to him at the interview.

The man appealed against the decision to cancel his passport in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and said he was not part of the terrorist group and did not want to travel to Syria.

The man told the tribunal that he had no intention at any time to become involved in politically motivated violence.

He said he had intended to take $39,000 with him when he left Australia, for investment opportunities.

An ASIO senior officer referred to as Mr Woodgate told the tribunal the “security assessment involved consideration of the applicant’s activities and character as relevant to security”.

“It is ASIO’s continued assessment that if the applicant held an Australian passport he would be likely to engage in conduct that may prejudice the security of Australia or a foreign country and his passport should remain cancelled in order to prevent him from engaging in that conduct,” he said.

‘Just because I’m Muslim, doesn’t mean I want to join ISIL’

During the hearing the man was asked whether he supported Islamic State’s attempts to establish an Islamic caliphate.

The man said “it is up to them whatever they do”.

“I’m not a part of them. I don’t speak Arabic,” he said.

“Just because I’m Muslim, it doesn’t mean I want to join them or anything.”

Court documents also showed that in July 2013 ASIO interviewed the man in relation to the terrorist organisation Jabhat al-Nusra.

During the 2013 interview the man was advised that if ASIO believed a person intended to travel to Syria, to train or undertake in military activity with an organisation, they would have their passport cancelled.

The man replied that he had little understanding of the situation in Syria, he had not heard of anyone in his community who had planned to travel to fight for Jabhat al-Nusra and he did not know of anyone raising funds for terrorist organisations.

On Tuesday the tribunal said evidence in closed hearings backed ASIO’s judgement.

The tribunal confirmed the cancellation of the man’s passport and the decision to issue the adverse security assessment.

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