Tougher parole laws likely after attack in Melbourne

SYDNEY • The Australian government yesterday signalled a drive to reform parole laws, including a ban on parole for violent offenders who have any links to extremism, after a deadly siege claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

Police shot dead gunman Yacqub Khayre, who they said had a long criminal history, on Monday night after he killed a man in Melbourne, Australia's second- largest city, and held a woman hostage for several hours.

Attorney-General George Brandis said it was clear that Khayre, 29, who was granted parole in November after being convicted over a violent home invasion, should never have been released from prison.

"I think the public are entitled to expect that people who present that level of danger to the public, and who have a terrorism background, there should be a presumption against bail or parole except in a very clear case," Mr Brandis told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Mr Brandis and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull both launched stinging criticism of state governments, which are responsible for parole laws, in the wake of the Melbourne attack.

Police are treating the siege as an "act of terrorism" after ISIS claimed one of its fighters was responsible.

Officials said Khayre had been acquitted of a plot to attack a Sydney army base in 2009. He was also accused of going to Somalia, where he was born, to seek a religious ruling in support of the planned 2009 attack.

Attorney-General George Brandis said it was clear that Khayre, 29, who was granted parole in November after being convicted over a violent home invasion, should never have been released from prison.

Mr Brandis said Mr Turnbull would push state leaders to alter who is responsible for parole decisions at a meeting of state and federal governments tomorrow, including having decisions made by state attorneys-general rather than parole boards in cases involving extremism.

Australia passed laws last year allowing the indefinite detention of anyone convicted of terror-related offences.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Tougher parole laws likely after attack in Melbourne'. Print Edition | Subscribe