Convicted ISIS Muslim terrorist says 17 year sentence "manifestly excessive" - found with rifle, bomb-making equipment and ISIS flag
Police found sawn-off rifle, balaclavas, machetes, Jihad book, ISIS flag, jerry cans and bomb-making equipment
The frightening thing is that Islamic State follower Agim Kruezi has Australian supporters.
A Queensland man sentenced to 17 years in jail for planning a terrorist attack on Australian soil is fighting to have his prison sentence reduced.
Islamic State ideologue Agim Kruezi was arrested in counter-terrorism raids in Logan, south of Brisbane, in September 2014, and pleaded guilty to making acts of preparation for a terrorist attack and making preparatory acts for incursion to a foreign state.
At the time he was sentenced in 2018, a judge said Kruezi had shown no remorse for his extreme views.
Kruezi has appealed the length of his 17-year sentence, arguing it and the 13-year non-parole period is “manifestly excessive”.
During his arrest, police discovered a loaded 0.22 semiautomatic sawn-off rifle, balaclavas, machetes, a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs saying his passport was cancelled, a photocopy of a book titled Jihad, and an ISIS flag He had also purchased a jerry can of petrol and bottles to make explosives.
Kruezi, who had planned to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS, had recorded videos of himself shooting arrows into a styrofoam head.
The application to appeal was heard at the Court of Appeal in Brisbane on Monday where barrister Tony Kimmins, representing Kruezi, said the sentencing judge, Roslyn Atkinson, had made an error when assessing his client’s sentence by factoring in the totality of the offences.
Mr Kimmins said the three offences his client pleaded guilty to were conducted over seven months and were not committed as part of a continuing course of conduct and should therefore not have warranted an increased sentence based on the totality of the charges.
“They are separate charges … they seem to be brought together because the they were motivated by the same beliefs and ideological mindset and worldview,” Mr Kimmins said of the Justice Atkinson’s decision.
He said the offences were “different types of offending”.
“It was incorrect for (Justice Atkinson) to come to the conclusion that he’d engaged, over a seven-month period of time, a continuing course of conduct,” he said. “They had to be dealt with specifically.”
Mr Kimmins said Justice Atkinson had made no statement during her sentencing remarks as to by how much she had increased the sentence by dealing with the charges cumulatively.
He said she also did not indicate what benefit she gave to Kruezi to take into account his plea of guilty.
Crown prosecutor Lincoln Crowley said Justice Atkinson’s decision was bound by statutory requirements under the Commonwealth Crimes Act which stipulates judges must impose sentences of severity for terrorism offences. It also dictates that 75 per cent of a sentence must be served before an offender is eligible for parole.
Mr Crowley said there was “no real dispute” during the sentencing about whether accumulation of the charges was appropriate and that a joint submission allowed for totality of the charges to be included. “There was a period of planning which led to a number of acts that led to the offender arriving at the airport on the day and committing an offence on that day,” he said.
During sentencing, Justice Atkinson said Kruezi had shown an “absence of remorse” which meant she could not determine the realistic prospects of rehabilitation.
“There is no evidence the applicant has resiled from his beliefs or otherwise demonstrated that he has done anything to attempt to sway himself from the extremism which led to the motivation for these offences in the first place,” Mr Crowley said.
The Appeal Court will hand down its decision at a later date.