Aussie would be freedom fighter locked up
A MELBOURNE man has been remanded in custody after being charged with planning to travel to Iraq to fight against IS.
Jamie Williams, from the northern Melbourne suburb of Epping, has been charged with attempted to travel to a conflict zone in northern Iraq in December last year.
Authorities allege Mr Williams, 28, last year attempting to board a Qatar-bound flight. Immigration officials state Mr Williams told them his final destination was Iraq. His bag is alleged to have contained military-style clothing and equipment. Australian Federal Police claim he was planning to fight alongside Kurdish forces against ISIS.
Mr Williams appeared briefly before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday but did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody.
Australian Federal Police Counter Terrorism assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan said travelling to Syria or Iraq to fight was illegal - even if you planning against ISIS.
"There have been numerous warnings against participating in the current conflict in Syria and Iraq, and while this individual did not actually travel, people need to be aware that actively planning and undertaking preparations to travel to the conflict area still constitutes a criminal offence," he said.
EARLER: Aussie charged after attempting to join fight against IS
A 28-YEAR-OLD Melbourne man has been charged after he allegedly attempted to travel to Northern Iraq to fight with Kurdish forces against Islamic State.
The Epping was charged by the Melbourne Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) for his alleged attempt to involve himself in a conflict zone.
It will be alleged in court that the man undertook preparations and attempted to depart Australia in December 2014.
Members of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Counter Terrorism Unit - now part of the Australian Border Force - identified the man as a potential departing foreign fighter on Sunday 28 December 2014 as he attempted to board a flight at Melbourne airport bound for Qatar.
The man is alleged to have stated that his final destination was to be Northern Iraq. At the time of the alleged departure various items of military-style equipment and clothing were located in his luggage.
Following an investigation by the Melbourne JCTT comprising of members from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Victoria Police the man was arrested on Monday night, and is expected to appear in Melbourne Magistrate's Court today.
The AFP National Manager Counter Terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said undertaking planning to travel to Syria or Iraq to support those involved in the conflict, regardless of who you support, is illegal and highly dangerous.
"There have been numerous warnings against participating in the current conflict in Syria and Iraq, and while this individual did not actually travel, people need to be aware that actively planning and undertaking preparations to travel to the conflict area still constitutes a criminal offence," Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.
"Obtaining appropriate evidence to put before the courts in matters such as this is a challenging and time-consuming process, but the AFP and its partner agencies will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute individuals who choose to ignore the repeated warnings of the government, police and the community."
Acting ABF Regional Commander Victoria, Dean Hogarth, said the arrest highlighted how effective cross-agency cooperation was in combatting this threat.
"Thanks to the efforts of the ABF Counter-Terrorism Unit, which now has officers placed around the country at international airports, this individual was stopped before he left the country," Mr Hogarth said
The Epping man has been charged with one count of preparations for incursions into foreign countries for purpose of engaging in hostile activities, contrary to section 119.4(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
The public is reminder to report suspicious activity to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.