An Australian man has appeared in court, charged with trying to travel to Iraq to fight against so-called Islamic State. The 28-year-old was stopped trying to board a Qatar-bound flight at Melbourne Airport, last December. He told officials his final destination was northern Iraq, Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.
The Melbourne man was arrested on Monday, accused of preparing to take up arms with Kurdish-aligned forces. Travelling to Syria or Iraq to support those involved on either side of conflicts there is illegal under Australian law, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
A charge sheet filed with the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday said the man, Jamie Williams, was preparing to enter a foreign country “with the intention of engaging in a hostile activity”, local media reported. Combat-style equipment and clothing was allegedly found in the man’s luggage when he tried to leave Australia on 28 December.
“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,” National Manager Counter Terrorism Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said in an earlier statement.
The coffin of Reece Harding is seen during his funeral service held at the Kurdish Association of Victoria in Melbourne on Sunday, July 26, 2015.
Kurds in Melbourne held a funeral service for Reece Harding after he died fighting in Syria Mr Williams was remanded in custody to reappear in court on 20 October.