Crime & Justice

Australian police arrest 18-year-old expected to face terror charges

Sydney, Australia, Dec 9 (efe-epa).- Australian police arrested an 18-year-old suspected far-right extremist on Wednesday over allegedly inciting people to commit violence and due to the growing suspicion that he was preparing to carry out an act of violence.

The unidentified man was arrested in the city of Albury, 460 kilometers (286 miles) south of Sydney on Wednesday morning, and was due to be charged with a range of criminal counter-terrorism-related offenses before appearing in a local court, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.

Authorities began investigating the man in August when they became aware of a series of online posts containing “an extreme right wing ideology that indicated potential criminal activity.”

According to the police, he used social media forums to encourage people to commit violent acts but the trigger for his arrest was “escalating content of some of the man’s communications, which allegedly indicated his willingness to commit a violent and criminal act.”

“The investigation into this matter remains ongoing, but we remain wary about the speed with which lone actors can progress from online activities to ones that impact the real world,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism Scott Lee said.

Australian intelligence agencies have repeatedly warned that the threat from far-right groups has increased since the March 2019 terror attack by an Australian man against two New Zealand mosques, in which 51 Muslims were killed.

The head of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization (ASIO), Mike Burgess, warned in February that “in suburbs around Australia, small cells regularly meet to salute Nazi flags, inspect weapons, train in combat and share their hateful ideology.”

The Australian spy chief also said that these extremists use online forums to connect with like-minded individuals around the world.

Last month, an Australian court sentenced far-right extremist Phillip Galea to 12 years in prison for plotting terror attacks against groups associated with the political left in Melbourne in 2016.

On Wednesday, an Australian parliamentary committee began a review into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia, including jihadists and supremacists. EFE-EPA


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