ISIS suspect’s wife under investigation
AUSTRALIAN authorities are investigating the wife of an Iraqi Kurd refugee who was granted a bridging visa before it was discovered by intelligence agents that he was actually a suspected member of terrorist group Islamic State.
The ISIS suspect, identified only as BSX15, was granted an Australian visa in 2013 shortly after his arrival at Christmas Island by boat and claiming to be an Iraqi refugee whose family was persecuted by former dictator Saddam Hussein.
But as reported exclusively yesterday, ASIO discovered BSX15 was "identical" to Muthanna Najm Abdullah which classified intelligence derived from both Iraqi and Australian sources identified as a "member" of the Islamic State terror group.
BSX15 had admitted to having up to nine aliases including a version of Muthanna Najm Abdullah but two letters were missing in his written confirmation which ASIO is now claiming in court was an act to deceive.
Now the investigation of him has shifted to his associates, an imam who married him and his wife whom he married in November 2013 in Melbourne after already being told he was about to be deported as an undesirable citizen and a threat to national security. The woman is believed to be Australian with an Arabic background.
BSX15 has denied being an ISIS member and indeed has informed authorities he has not visited a mosque in Australia since his arrival, did not know how to pray and also enjoyed drinking alcohol, which was against the Muslim religion.
He has conceded he was married here by a Sunni imam but said he was born Shia but only used that imam because he was recommended by a friend.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in reacting to the report, yesterday conceded ASIO made an error in the interviewing of the man which now is seeing him successfully granted a legal right in the Federal Court to appeal his removal from Australia. He is currently in detention in NSW awaiting the appeal process.
According to ASIO threat assessment of the man he "has intentionally tried to minimise and obfuscate the truth about his background, activities, associations and ideology to avoid prejudicing his security assessment." His claim to be Shia Muslim ASIO said was designed to "obfuscate inquiries into his connections to Sunni Islamic extremism".
The Federal Court found ASIO should have questioned BSX15 further about his other names; in particular, its assessment that he was "identical" with the Muthanna name. The claim his identity was identical was made by ASIO to Mr Dutton and Home Affairs in a formal tabled parliamentary report when it was recommended he not be given a visa to stay and the matter was challenged in court.
BSX15 said he was of Kurdish descent born to a Shia family from Mandali on the Iraq-Iran border. He said he changed his name when he moved to Al Shaab because an Iraqi identity card showed he was living at Sunni city Asamiya.