Abdul Nacer Benbrika may be released from a Victorian prison in November

Abdul Nacer Benbrika may be released from a Victorian prison in November

Australia’s first convicted terrorist leader, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, may be released from a Victorian prison in November, after spending the last 18 years behind bars.

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Benbrika had plotted to carry out terrorist attacks in Melbourne and Sydney, assassinate then-Prime Minister John Howard, and blow up the MCG on Grand Final Day.

He was charged in 2005 and given a 15-year jail term in 2009. His sentence expired in 2020, but he was held back for another three years due to a post-detention order over concerns that he might re-offend if released.

The Commonwealth is now seeking to place Benbrika on an extended supervision order, with an application to be made as early as Monday.

These orders, introduced in 2021, allow authorities to closely monitor high-risk terrorism offenders once they leave jail. Benbrika will be monitored 24/7, with his phone, online activity, friends, and movements all closely watched by police.

He will also need to attend de-radicalisation programs as part of the strict supervision order.

Benbrika was deemed an ongoing threat and detained for another three years based on a terrorism assessment tool known as VERA-2R, which is used to assess convicted terrorists.

However, there are concerns about the tool’s “validity and reliability.” Benbrika’s lawyers have also questioned its validity and have started legal action in a bid to get their client released from prison.

Benbrika became the country’s first convicted terrorist leader after arriving in Australia in 1989.

He once said his followers needed to kill at least 1,000 non-believers to make the Australian government withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Australian government cancelled Benbrika’s citizenship in 2020, and then-Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Benbrika would be sent back to Algeria once he is released.

»Abdul Nacer Benbrika may be released from a Victorian prison in November«

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