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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Australian jail inmate says he’ll always support jihad

A radicalised Australian jail inmate has told a court he’s sorry for waterboarding and carving an Islamic State slogan into his cellmate’s forehead but not for attacking the former soldier.

A “physical attack would be OK”, Bourhan Hraichie said from the dock in the NSW (New South Wales) Supreme Court on Friday.

He was confirming what he wrote in an earlier letter to the judge, which said the attack “was done for Islamic reasons and it is an honourable and praiseworthy act that I hope to be rewarded for by Allah”.

The now 21-year-old also wrote: “I will always support Jihad as it is part of Islam and I love my brothers from Al Qaida and the Taliban and the other mujahid soldiers”.

He previously pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to four charges, including doing an act in preparation for a terrorist act and causing grievous bodily harm/wounding to Michael O’Keefe with intent to murder .

He also admitted sending a document threatening death or grievous bodily harm, after he wrote a letter threatening to kill NSW prisons boss Peter Severin if he didn’t stop staff “oppressing” Hraichie, saying “I will personally execute you in public”.

Hraichie was due to be sentenced on April 26, after sentence hearings which included an expert’s opinion that he was not aligned to jihad views, and evidence from his parents saying he was remorseful for his crimes and was moving towards deradicalisation.

But in the meantime, Hraichie wrote a 14-page letter to the judge, stressing it was not a political stunt but so “that my views actions and beliefs may be made absolutely clear”.

The letter led to his lawyers withdrawing from the case and the sentence hearing being re-opened on Friday.

The commonwealth and NSW prosecutors submitted the letter would lead the judge to conclude that Hraichie was not remorseful or contrite, his prospects of rehabilitation are poor and he is likely to reoffend.

In the letter, he denied making “remorseful” comments to his parents, rejected democracy and the laws of Australia, expressed support for jihad and expressed admiration for the killer of NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng and for Osama bin Laden.

“In the matter of Curtis Cheng we saw the Lion of Islam … execute the Slave of Democracy … May Allah forgive him and accept him as a martyr,” he wrote. “I make disassociation from the Islamic State actions as they have deviated from the correct path. They are still Muslim and I love them for the sake of Allah. I accept their Jihad against non believers but reject it against the muslims.”

While he said he did not denounce attacking his cellmate, he said he regretted “waterboarding and cutting him as torture mutilation are both forbidden in Islam and I take that back, I am regretful that I did that and I hope Allah forgives me for that”.

When Hraichie learned his 40-year-old cellmate was a former soldier, he attacked him by punching him, binding him with ropes he’d made out of bed sheets, whipping him with a cable, carving “E 4 E” – meaning “eye for an eye” – into his forehead with a razor and pouring boiling water on his face.

Justice Peter Johnson will sentence him on August 2.

(This article was published on on June 21, 2019 and has been reproduced here in full.)

Additional Note

The father of this fourth generation Lebanese-Australian, Ahmad Hraichie, claims his son was ‘brainwashed’ by a group of Muslim radicals behind bars and is calling for a royal Australian commission into the widespread radicalisation of prisoners.

His call comes amid growing concern that some Australian jails have become ‘supermosques’ that are breeding grounds for Islamic extremism.

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