News National Sentence for man who sent $US40,000 for fighting in Syria

Sentence for man who sent $US40,000 for fighting in Syria

Omar Succarieh
Omar Succarieh pleaded guilty last week to four foreign incursion charges. Photo: ABC
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An Islamic bookshop owner sent money overseas because he wanted to see the Syrian government overthrown and replaced with a caliphate, a Queensland court has heard.

Omar Succarieh, 33, last month pleaded guilty to four foreign incursion offences after the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions dropped more serious terror-related charges against him.

While the offences carry a maximum of 10 years in prison, the crown is calling for Succarieh to be jailed for no more than three years.

The sentencing is expected to take two days because of the rare, complex nature of the case.

The Brisbane Supreme Court heard on Tuesday that Succarieh sent $US43,700 ($A57,094) to his brother Abraham Succarieh in 2014 while he was fighting alongside terror group Jabhat al-Nusra.

The brothers spoke in code to arrange the payments, describing cash and how much he would send in the terms “sweets” and “kilos”.

He also gave $A7700 to an Australian-born citizen of Albanian descent and Muslim Sunni faith to travel overseas in an alleged attempt to join the fight.

Prosecutor Lincoln Crowley said Succarieh was a religious fundamentalist who sought to illegally support and aid those fighting in the war-torn country.

“He believed it was his religious duty to do what he could to involve himself in the conflict in the name of his faith,” Mr Crowley said.

“He fought with his money and the assistance he was able to provide.”

But in a statement filed in court, Succarieh said he gave money to his brother because he believed he was in a “life or death” situation.

Succarieh arriving at the Brisbane watch house in September 2014.
Succarieh arriving at the Brisbane watch house in September 2014. Photo: AAP

Succarieh said he was emotionally drawn to the conflict in Syria and wanted to help but now realised how naive his actions were.

“Being a young Muslim man, I felt targeted by authorities at times in my life,” he said.

“I no longer look at them with suspicion but rather people that are just doing their jobs.”

Succarieh’s family, as well as senior Islamic figures in Brisbane, have written to the court about how he will serve as a positive example for young Muslim boys once he has been released from custody.

Defence lawyer Saul Holt said Succarieh was almost universally praised as being a generous, funny and committed family man who misses his children.

But in his own eyes, Succarieh says he feels he’ll always be known as the “accused terrorist who owned the bookstore”.