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

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Kitimat registers biggest drop in property assessments

The residential property in the north with the highest value was $2.892 million

Former mayor Ray Brady passes away

“What I can say is that he was passionate about his beliefs and he would fight for them.”

CDC’s housing section looking for new home

CDC executive director says it has until Jan. 31 to move out.

Shames Mountain named one of the world’s Top 10 ski resorts

The UK magazine listed Shames alongside Whistler and hills in Italy, Japan and Austria

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read