Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton hopes Islamic State jihadist Neil Prakash “rots in jail”, as the federal government considers appealing a decision to reject the Melbourne-born terrorist’s extradition.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop expressed their disappointment on Friday with the Turkish court decision, as Mr Turnbull vows to continue trying to bring the Melbourne-born recruiter back to Australia to face justice.
Mr Dutton said the best possible outcome for any terrorist was to be “targeted and killed” on the battlefield, but Australia had an interest in extraditing Prakash.
“From my perspective, I’m happy to see him rot in jail in Turkey,” Mr Dutton said in Brisbane on Friday.
Mr Turnbull confirmed Australia was exploring its legal options, including an appeal.
“Our goal is to ensure Neil Prakash is not ever able to practice his evil trade of terrorism ever again,” Mr Turnbull said in Tasmania on Friday.
“We’ll be working closely with the Turkish authorities to see how we can ensure that he is brought back to face justice in Australian courts,” he said.
Prakash has been in custody near the border with Syria since 2016 after he attempted to enter Turkey with false documents.
He could now be freed from Turkish custody if the Kilis Criminal Court determines he isn’t under investigation for other crimes.
The former rapper had featured in IS videos, and has been linked to a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police officer, and another attack that saw two officers stabbed outside a Melbourne police station.
He has previously admitted being a member of Islamic State but said he had nothing to do with the group in Australia.
Prakash, who faces a potential life sentence if convicted in Australia of terrorism offences, has been receiving consular assistance in his Turkish prison.
One of Australia’s most infamous members of the Islamic State group, Prakash admitted in a Turkish court to being partly responsible for IS activity in Australia.
At a hearing in September last year, he admitted to making propaganda videos and, when asked whether he was responsible for IS in Australia he replied: “I had something to do with [it], but I was not 100 per cent responsible.”
In a brief and halting hearing his comments were relayed to the Turkish judge via an interpreter who needed to ask for clarification. Prakash repeated: “What happened in Australia, I wasn’t 100 per cent responsible for.”
Prakash grew up as a Buddhist before converting to Islam
Prakash is of Fijian and Cambodian descent and was raised as a Buddhist before converting to Islam in 2012 where he began attending the controversial al-Furqan Islamic Centre in Melbourne.
A year later he left Australia to join IS in Syria and took the name Abu Khaled al-Cambodi where he started appearing in propaganda videos and recruiting other would-be terrorists.
In 2015 , Australian Federal Police issue a warrant for his arrest through Interpol after being linked to a failed Melbourne plot to behead a police officer on Anzac Day.
The US – incorrectly – announces Prakash has been killed in a drone strike but in October 2016 he is captured by Turkish authorities trying to cross from Syria using false documents and imprisoned on terrorism-related charges .