Sabtu, 04 September 2021

New Zealand attacker recently spent three years in jail for possessing extremist material - ABC News

New Zealand authorities have revealed the man behind a terror attack in Auckland previously spent three years in prison after being found with extremist material.

But at a certain point, despite grave fears he would attack others, they say they could do nothing more to keep him behind bars.

For 53 days from July this year, police tracked 32-year-old Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen's every move, an operation that involved some 30 officers working around the clock.

Their fears were realised on Friday when he walked into an Auckland supermarket, grabbed a kitchen knife from a shelf and stabbed seven people before police shot and killed him

Five of the victims are in hospital and three are in a critical condition.

A history of extremist views

The attacker was first noticed by police in 2016 when he started posting support for terrorism and violent extremism on Facebook. Police twice confronted him but he kept posting.

In 2017, authorities arrested him at Auckland Airport. They say he was headed for Syria, presumably to join the Islamic State insurgency.

Police searches found he had a hunting knife and some banned propaganda material, and he was later released on bail.

In 2018, he bought another knife, and police found two Islamic State videos.

He spent the next three years in jail after pleading guilty to various crimes and for breaching bail.

On new charges in May, a jury found him guilty on two counts of possessing objectionable videos, both of which showed Islamic State group imagery, including the group's flag and a man in a black balaclava holding a semi-automatic weapon.

A police officer holding a machine gun stands on a road with ambulances behind him
Police shot the man dead within 60 seconds of him beginning his attack, New Zealand authorities say. (

New Zealand Herald via AP: Alex Burton


However, the videos didn't show violent murders like some Islamic State videos and weren't classified as the worst kind of illicit material.

A court report warned he had the motivation and means to commit violent acts in the community and posed a high risk.

It described him as harbouring extreme attitudes, living an isolated lifestyle, and having a sense of entitlement.

The outside of a building. Through a barred window, a man in a white forensic suit is looking around.
A forensic team searches the Glen Eden mosque the attacker had been living in.(

AP: Brett Phibbs


But the judge released him, sentencing him to a year's supervision at an Auckland mosque, where a leader had confirmed his willingness to help and support him on his release.

The judge also banned Samsudeen from owning any devices that could access the internet, unless approved in writing by a probation officer, and ordered that he provide access to any social media accounts he held.

"I am of the view that the risk of you reoffending in a similar way to the charges upon which you were convicted remains high," the judge concluded. "Your rehabilitation is, accordingly, key."

Attack prompts swift overhaul of anti-terror laws

The attack has highlighted deficiencies in New Zealand's anti-terror laws, which experts say are too focused on punishing actions and inadequate for dealing with plots before they are carried out.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government was close to filling some of those legislative holes when the attack occurred. She vowed law changes by the end of the month.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the law they were working under required a suspect to make the first move.

"We might have an understanding of intent, and ideology, and we might have high levels of concern," Commissioner Coster said.

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Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 13 seconds
Terrorism expert Dr Chris Wilson gives details about what's known about the attacker.


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2021-09-04 21:46:32Z

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