Australian authorities have arrested a woman for entering and remaining in areas formerly held by the Daesh terror group, as the country continues to struggle with hesitancy of repatriation and to deal with prosecution of returnees.
Following searches at the town of Young and the Sydney suburb of Parklea, Federal and New South Wales (NSW) state, police from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team today arrested 31-year-old Mariam Raad, almost three months after her return to the country from the Al-Roj detention camp in north-east Syria.
She is charged with willingly travelling to Syria in early 2014 to join her husband – a member of the terror group believed to have died in 2018 – while reportedly fully aware of his activities. Under Australian law, it is a criminal offence to enter and remain in areas the government has declared “a listed terrorist organisation is engaging in a hostile activity”.
In a statement and joint media release, Australian Federal Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism and Special Investigations Command, Sandra Booth, said that “Individuals will be brought before the courts when evidence supports allegations that returned individuals have committed offences in conflict areas”.
The NSW police, also assuring that there was no threat to the community, stated that Raad’s offence “carries a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment”. The court process for the case is set to proceed in the coming months, with the Reuters news agency being told by court officials that details of Raad’s legal representative would be released soon.