Turkey has agreed to a request from the Australian government to extradite a citizen it believes to be a top recruiter for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on May 12.
Melbourne-born Neil Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and has appeared in ISIL videos and magazines.
Australia alleges that Prakash actively recruited Australian men, women and children and encouraged acts of terrorism. The government announced financial sanctions against him in 2015, including anyone giving him financial assistance, with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.
“We’re looking forward – we should be getting him back within months, but it’s obviously got to go through the Turkish processes but we do have an extradition treaty,” Turnbull told Australian TV network Seven.
“We are satisfied that Neil Prakash, who has been one of the key financiers and organizers in ISIL or Daesh…will be brought back to Australia and he will face the courts,” Turnbull said referring to the jihadist group.
The Australian government wrongly reported last year, based on U.S. intelligence, that Prakash had been killed in an airstrike in Mosul, Iraq. It later confirmed that Prakash was detained in Turkey.
Australia raised its national terror threat level to “high” for the first time in 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalized in Iraq or Syria.
The country, a staunch ally of the United States and its action against the ISIL in Syria and Iraq, believes more than 100 citizens are fighting in the region.
In December 2014, a “lone wolf” attack in a popular Sydney cafe killed two hostages following a 17-hour siege. Gunman Man Haron Monis, a self-styled sheik who sought to align himself with ISIL, was also killed.