Australia

Australia’s first convicted terrorist to remain in prison despite completing his sentence, High Court rules


Australia’s highest court has rejected a constitutional challenge to the continued detention of a terrorist following the expiration of his jail sentence.

It comes after Victoria’s Supreme Court in December granted a continuing detention order allowing authorities to hold Abdul Nacer Benbrika behind bars for an extra three years.

Benbrika challenged the constitutional validity of this, specifically whether the commonwealth could give the Supreme Court the power to impose the detention order.

The High Court of Australia on Wednesday upheld the ability of the Supreme Court to do so.

Benbrika is an Algerian-born self-proclaimed Islamic cleric who was jailed in 2009 for a maximum of 15 years.

He led a terror cell that spoke of attacking Melbourne’s Crown Casino and bombing the MCG and has been in custody since his 2005 arrest.

Supreme Court Justice Andrew Tinney last year ordered Benbrika remain in custody until November 2023.

The judge found it was highly unlikely someone with Benbrika’s narcissistic personality traits, and sense of religious and intellectual superiority and infallibility, would have changed his extremist views.

At the time of his arrest, Benbrika posed a very real danger to the community at the time of his arrest, Justice Tinney said.

He added it was only the intervention of law enforcement that prevented potential mayhem and tragedy.

Benbrika did claim his views had changed in 2014, but only brought this up two weeks after his first parole bid was knocked back in 2017.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton cancelled Benbrika’s Australian citizenship last year.

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