29 September 2017








SUBJECT: Neil Prakash.


ANNE ALY, MEMBER FOR COWAN: I think you know at a kind of emotional or reactive level, I certainly do not want to see him back in this country. And I think a lot of Australians would probably say ‘no’, you know, ‘let him rot in a Turkish jail’. But he has broken Australian laws and I think it’s important for him to come and face the justice system here in Australia and for justice to be served in Australia as well. And he could be connected to other things, there’s certain information and investigation that need to occur here, there’s certain intelligence or information that he could be giving Australian law enforcement through the process of that trial. And through the process of justice being delivered in that way that could be useful here in Australia as well.

MANDY PRESLAND, INTERVIEWER: He has indicated in that court hearing that he is “sorry for his involved with IS”, what do you take from signs of contrition like that?

ALY: Well of course he’s sorry, isn’t he? Everybody’s sorry when they get caught. Look, there have been stories of people who have returned from the fighting – long before there was any risk of them getting caught – these were people who did not reach the higher echelons of the organisation as Neil Prakash has. Here is a man who left Australia to join the most brutal terrorist organisation. Not only did he join that, he exulted attacks here in Australia and he’s encouraged further attacks here in Australia. I take his apology, and his regret, and his claims that he was naïve with a grain of salt because he’s spent so much time there and he was a chief propagandist for them.

INTERVIEWER: Given he has issued that apology, would you consider him to be radicalised?

ALY: I would consider that radicalised or de-radicalised, I don’t think that he is “de-radicalised”, you know we talk about de-radicalisation as if it’s some sort of reprogramming of the wiring of the brain. It’s much more complex than that. I would have to spend a lot of time with him to determine whether or not he still had radical dispositions. I don’t believe that he has completely let go of any of those radical thoughts. And as I said, he didn’t go there; spend a week there and then become disillusioned. That’s what a naïve or disillusioned person would have done. He went there. He stayed there. He became entrenched in the organisation there. He became a chief propagandist for them. And only when he sensed the end was nigh did he want to escape.

INTERVIEWER: Well he’s indicated in court that he’s only now speaking out about his involvement because previously he feared for his life if he did so. What does that tell you?

ALY: Again I would take that with a grain of salt. It’s easy for him to say those kinds of things. I think there needs to be, you know, evidence of that, I haven’t seen the evidence of that. I haven’t seen – we have to wait and see what comes out in the court. But I’m not prepared to take It at face value what he says because of the length of time that he spent entrenched in the organisation, the rank to which he climbed, the fact that he was a major propagandist for them and that he spoke on their behalf, and had a lot to do with influencing young people here in Australia. This is not somebody who went and was a foot soldier. He achieved a fairly high rank within that organisation as their spokesperson. It’s not something that we should take lightly.