Australian man to stand trial over recruiting militants for Syria battles

A man in Australia will stand trial over recruiting individuals in the country to join Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria, after a court dismissal of his request for the case to be dropped.

On Thursday, the New South Wales’ Supreme Court ruled that Hamdi Alqudsi should be put to trial for recruiting seven men to join the ranks of the al-Nusra Front and other Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria.

Alqudsi had asked the court to drop the charges, saying the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 – the law according to which he has been charged – is unconstitutional.

Justice Christine Adamson, however, rejected his appeal.

The law stipulates that “a person shall not enter a foreign state with intent to engage in a hostile activity in that foreign state,” adding that anyone who facilitates this process is also guilty and will be given a 7-year prison term.

The court accuses Alqudsi of arranging the travel of seven men to Syria between June and October 2013, saying it has access to some telephone intercepts that prove that the 41-year-old was giving instructions to the Takfiri terrorists on how to go to the conflict-hit Arab state.

Alqudsi’s lawyer, Zali Burrows, denies the charges, saying his client was only providing “innocuous” travel advice.

According to reports, Alqudsi, who is currently free on bail, will attend a pre-trial hearing on Friday and stand his first trial session in September.

Syria has been facing a foreign-backed militancy since 2011. Takfiri militants, who currently control areas across Syria as well as northern and western Iraq, have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations, against Iraqi and Syrian communities.

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