Australian-born Islamic State terrorist Neil Prakash. Picture: AAP
Australian-born Islamic State terrorist Neil Prakash. Picture: AAP

Aussie terrorist ‘regrets’ joining ISIS

Australian-born terrorist Neil Prakash has told a Turkey court he is "repentant" and that he made a mistake in joining the Islamic State extremist group.

"I feel regret for joining the Islamic State and for the time I sent with them. I feel repentant," the Australian said at the latest of a string of court appearances since his 2016 arrest.

The court, in the town of Kilis near the Syrian border, had reportedly been due to hear a report from Turkey's cybercrime unit on the information uncovered from the Melbourne-born 27-year-old's phone and details of his online activity.

But Judge Harun Ceyhan said the report had not been received and that it would likely not be presented until Prakash's next scheduled court appearance on February 20.

 

Neil Prakash claimed the Islamic State forced him to take part in propaganda videos and recruit members because he was Australian. Picture: AAP
Neil Prakash claimed the Islamic State forced him to take part in propaganda videos and recruit members because he was Australian. Picture: AAP

Prakash is facing local terrorism charges of committing crimes against the state of Turkey by being a member of a terrorist organisation, which carries a penalty of between seven-and-a-half to 15 years' jail.

In July, the Turkish court rejected a bid by the Australian Government to have him extradited to Australia to face charges relating to his prolific recruiting and propaganda role with Islamic State.

"I've been in jail for two years and two months and I want to be released," Prakash said.

His state-appointed defence lawyer, Resat Devran, requested bail but was rejected.

The Syrian border area where Neil Prakash was arrested in late 2016. Picture: Supplied
The Syrian border area where Neil Prakash was arrested in late 2016. Picture: Supplied

Prakash was questioned about the two women - a Bangladesh and a Somalian - he was with when he was captured on the Turkish-Syrian border in October 2016.

"Why are you asking about them? I have nothing to do with them," he replied in English, before adding in Turkish, "They are not my family."

Prakash, who was wearing glasses, was speaking via video link from the jail in the town of Gaziantep where he is being held.

The judge said he had asked immigration officials and police about the women's status and had been told that they were not being held and their location was unknown.

 

Neil Prakash appeared via video link during a hearing in September. Picture: News Corp Australia
Neil Prakash appeared via video link during a hearing in September. Picture: News Corp Australia

The court had previously heard that the women were the wives of a man from Ahrar-u-sham, an extremist group that Prakash had joined before switching to Islamic State.

Australian consular officials had been present at previous hearings in the case but none were present on Thursday.

In his previous appearance in September, Prakash claimed the Islamic State forced him to take part in propaganda videos and recruit members because he was Australian.

He denied taking up arms during his time in Syria and Iraq, and said he had been forced to record recruitment videos and pose for photographs with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

 

Kilis Criminal Court in Kilis, Turkey. Picture: Supplied
Kilis Criminal Court in Kilis, Turkey. Picture: Supplied

News Corp has previously revealed details of Prakash's interrogation, where he told investigating officers he had taken up arms against Kurdish fighters the PKK in the Syrian border town of Kobane.

He retracted those comments in court in September, saying he had made those comments at a time when he was using false identification.



Principal’s emotional message to 2020 graduates

Premium Content Principal’s emotional message to 2020 graduates

Here’s what Garry Goltz told departing Gladstone State High School students.

Horrific spate of Gladstone dog attacks continues

Premium Content Horrific spate of Gladstone dog attacks continues

“I just did what anyone else would do.”

SEE THE PHOTOS: Rugby league stars fish at Awoonga

Premium Content SEE THE PHOTOS: Rugby league stars fish at Awoonga

Two Canberra Raiders players took to Central Queensland waters last weekend.