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Prakash to be extradited to Australia ‘within months’

Neil Prakash is accused of being a recruiter for the Islamic State terrorist group: Photo: ABC
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Australia’s most wanted terrorist, Neil Prakash, is expected to be extradited from Turkey “within months” to face trial, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

The notorious Melbourne-born extremist was captured in Turkey in November last year, months after the Government said he had been killed in an air strike in Iraq.

He is a senior recruiter for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and a key figure in its propaganda war.

Mr Turnbull said the extradition process was underway and Prakash would soon face justice in Australia.

“We are satisfied that Neil Prakash — who has been one of the key financiers or organisers in ISIL or Daesh, this barbaric terrorist group — he will be brought back to Australia and he will face the courts,” Mr Turnbull told Channel Seven on Friday.

“We should be getting him back within months.”

Prakash has been described by Attorney-General George Brandis as “the principal Australian reaching back from the Middle East into Australia”.

He has been linked to foiled attacks in Australia, including at Anzac Day commemorations in 2015 and 2016, and has called for lone wolf-style attacks here and in the US.

He is also said to have been in touch with Numan Haider, the 18-year-old who was killed after stabbing two police officers in Melbourne in 2014.

When his death was announced by the Government in May 2016, it was hailed as a significant blow against IS.

But it later emerged Prakash was only wounded in the strike, and had escaped to Syria.

The ABC understands he was arrested when he tried to cross the Syrian border into Turkey using false documents and a fake name.

It is understood he will face charges including “membership of a terrorist organisation”, “advocating terrorism”, “providing support to a terrorist organisation” and “incursions into foreign countries with the intention of engaging in hostile activities”.

Who is Neil Prakash?

  • Neil Prakash, 23, is of Fijian-Indian and Cambodian background, and attended Melbourne’s controversial Al-Furqan Islamic Centre after converting
  • He is believed to have left for Syria in 2013, where he changed his name to Abu Khaled al-Cambodi and was put on a US kill list
  •  He was linked to several Australian-based attack plans and calls for lone-wolf attacks against the US
  • Prakash has also appeared in IS propaganda
  • Paul Maley, the national security editor of The Australian newspaper, said Prakash was “a lonely lost sort of a guy, he was a gang member, he had a problem with drugs, he was a failed hip hop artist”

— ABC

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