December 15 2014

– The Iranian-born gunman who seized hostages in a downtown Sydney cafe had a long list of run-ins with authorities that include dozens of alleged sexual assaults on women stemming from his services as a spiritual healer, according to police.

Among the most serious allegations brought against Man Haron Monis, who was killed when police stormed the cafe, was accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.

Monis, 50, had been free on bail, and a former lawyer described him as a troubled individual acting entirely on his own. “This is a one-off random individual,” Manny Conditsis told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “It’s not a concerted terrorism event or act. It’s a damaged goods individual who’s done something outrageous.”

Conditsis described his former client as a man of “ideology … so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.”

Monis characterized himself on a website as a Muslim cleric persecuted by the government for his political views. Last year, he was convicted in connection with offensive letters to the families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan.

The gunman made several demands during the 16-hour siege, including a request for an Islamic State flag. He claimed he had scattered bombs across Sydney.

Aussie gunman, 2 hostages killed
Monis said on his website that the government made false allegations against him after he initiated a political letter-writing campaign in 2007. He said he has no connection with any organization or party “but is against war and any western invasion of Muslim countries.”

Writing about himself in the third person in a sometimes rambling message, Monis vowed on the website to “not stop his political activity against oppression and also … not care if his image will be damaged.”

Terror-free for years, Australia confronts extremists
Sydney police described Monis in news releases as a former spiritual leader who was charged in October with 40 allegations of sexual assault and indecency in a case involving six women. Police said they began investigating him in January in connection with the sexual assault of a woman who sought out a spiritual healer in 2002.

Monis was arrested in April in that case and charged with sexual assault, according to police. Detectives continued their investigation of Monis and identified six additional women who had been assaulted, police said.

In a separate case, Australia’s federal prosecutors won a conviction against Monis in 2013 in connection with sending offensive letters to the relatives of Australian soldiers who died in combat in Afghanistan. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service.

A sentencing judge described the letters as “grossly offensive.”

On his website, Monis claimed the government took away his children and banned him from communicating with them.

– Donna Leinwand Leger and Gregg Zoroya


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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