– A convicted Egyptian terrorist who arrived in Australia by boat as an asylum seeker was mistakenly cleared by ASIO for release into the community even though he was on an Interpol red-alert list.
Even after the mistake was realised, the man, who had been convicted in Egypt on murder and terrorism charges in 1999 was held in a low-security facility for nearly eight months, a Senate hearing was told yesterday.
In the end, he was never released. He was moved last month from the low-security Inverbrackie facility in the Adelaide Hills to a higher security facility in Sydney.
Separately, the Australian Federal Police also realised who the man was in November 12th, 2012. Yet the Department of Immigration has told Fairfax Media it was not informed of the man’s criminal past until February this year.
The revelations came yesterday when ASIO Director-General David Irvine was grilled in a Senate estimates hearing, which also revealed that only 10-15% of asylum seekers arriving by boat receive a full ASIO security check before they are given protection visas.
Fairfax Media understands the man convicted of terrorism offences was a 55-year-old named Suleiman and appears to have been connected with a bomb attack.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus told the hearing that the man had been convicted in absentia for belonging to a terrorist organisation, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
The man arrived at Christmas Island in early May 2012 with his family and was transferred to Inverbrackie.
ASIO deemed him fit to be released into community detention due to “a clerical or some other mistake”, Mr Irvine said.
“ASIO missed that man, didn’t they?” shadow attorney-general George Brandis asked.
Mr Irvine replied that ASIO had either “thought…that he was someone else or that he was not registered in our holdings” – David Wroe & Bianca Hall


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

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