Prime minister says IS fighter’s son can return to Australia

Prime minister says IS fighter's son can return to Australia

CANBERRA, Australia — A 6-year-old Australian boy photographed making an Islamic State movement salute in front of a human body hanging from a cross somewhere in the Middle East was entitled to return to Australia with his siblings, Australia’s prime minister said on Monday.

But such children who returned from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq would be subjected to “the closest attention” to ensure Australians were safe, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

“We will be utterly resolute in keeping Australians safe, and that applies to anyone who returns from the conflict zone, whether they are an adult or a child,” Turnbull told reporters.

Australian media on Sunday published the photograph posted on social media by Sydney-born convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf of his youngest child. The smiling boy holds up his right index finger in a salute in front of an apparently lifeless body suspended from a cross with plastic cable ties. A sign hanging from the body said the capital crime was collaborating with Christians.

Sharrouf’s Muslim-convert wife Tara Nettleton took their five children from Sydney to Syria to join their father in February 2014.

Nettleton died of surgery complications in September last year, but her mother Karen Nettleton continues to lobby governments for help to bring the children home.

Turnbull criticized Sharrouf, 35, over the picture, saying such behaviour demonstrated why Australia is committed to destroying the Islamic State movement.

“The despicable conduct of Khaled Sharrouf in using his child to promote the barbaric, terrorist activities of the organization of which he is part, is almost beyond belief,” Turnbull said.

“All of the children that are being exploited in this way, if they are Australian citizens, of course, would be able to return to Australia. But under the closest possible supervision,” he added.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said his officers were working with foreign partners toward prosecuting Sharrouf. The image of the child “says a lot more about Khaled Sharrouf than it does about his children,” Colvin said.

Sharrouf horrified the world in 2014 when he posted on social media a photograph of another son clutching the severed head of a Syrian soldier.

Then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described that image as “one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever displayed.”

The U.S. State Department in January announced sanctions against two Australian militants, including Sharrouf.

Sharrouf was among nine Muslim men accused in 2007 of stockpiling bomb-making materials and plotting terrorist attacks in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s largest cities.

He pleaded guilty to terrorism offences in 2009 and served less than four years in prison.

Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press

Just Posted

BC Supreme Court rules in favour of Victoria’s plastic bag ban

Court dismisses a challenge by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of Victoria couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

Officials worry of fire risk at homeless camp

Regina Park camp has grown to 77 tents

Pass a pint: Great Canadian Beer Festival tickets on sale now

Over 200 brews and ciders will be featured at this year’s craft celebration

Crews search for missing kayaker near Sooke

The person was seen launching their kayak from Beecher Bay on Monday at noon

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Most Read