An Australian man who wrote a 110-page “DIY” terrorism book whose content included how to down airliners and assassinate then-President George W. Bush may soon be out on bail, though government prosecutors are pushing back.
The Australian Associated Press reported that Belal Saadallah Khazaal completed a 12-year prison term in August 2020 after being convicted for authoring the tome, but he was re-arrested and put back in custody in late April after he allegedly violated the terms of his release on three occasions.
But due to a “very substantial” delay that Khazaal is facing before his trial, as well as questions regarding the strength of the government’s case regarding one charge, NSW Supreme Court Justice Hament Dhanji granted him bail on Monday, the Australian newswire service noted further.
The justice set Khazaal’s bail at $400,000 and ordered that he could only leave his residence with his wife and then under certain conditions including reporting to police.
However, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is opposing bail and has vowed to appeal the justice’s ruling, which is expected in the next few weeks.
Prosecutors say Khazaal, who is also known as Bilal Khazal, attempted to communicate with another man, Ali alTalebi, via his sister on March 30. Al-Talebi is currently serving a minimum of nine years for trying to send thousands of dollars to the Islamic State in 2014. He has also done time with Khazaal in a supermax prison in Goulburn, the AAP reported.
The other two alleged violations occurred when Khazaal drove his wife to the home of the sister on April 10 and transferred an envelope containing $4,650 in the driveway of her home. The suspect’s wife told authorities that it was her decision to give the money as a means of helping Khazaal’s sister, according to court records.
But citing transcripts of the conversations between all three, prosecutors pointed out that Khazaal allegedly told the sister that the funds had “nothing to do with you,” adding, “This is an agreement between me and him.”
Lester Fernandez with the CDPP’s office, charged, “That’s proof of his intention to contravene the order, irrespective of whose money it was.”
One of the conditions of Khazaal’s release was that he report to federal police any monetary transactions of more than $500, the AAP noted.
Dhanji said that the crown’s case in that regard seemed fairly strong, noting that handwriting on the envelope containing the money suggested “at least a very remarkable similarity” to the suspect’s.
But the March 30 case was weaker, the justice maintained.
“A stay of a bail decision under appeal is meant to expire after 72 hours, under commonwealth law,” the AAP noted, adding: “However, on application by the CDPP, Justice Dhanji agreed to delay officially granting bail, allowing the appeal court more flexibility to hear the appeal.”
Written in 2003, Khazaal’s “practical guide to achieving martyrdom” was published online in Arabic, according to Australia’s 7News. During his time behind bars, he was denied parole on three separate occasions.
“Khazaal, a Lebanese-Australian dual national who lived in the western Sydney suburb of Lakemba until his imprisonment, has never denied compiling Provisions Of The Rules of Jihad from online material but said it was never intended to incite terrorist acts,” 7News added.
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