A radicalised Sydney man who provided support for the Islamic State terrorist organisation by associating with two of its members has been jailed for at least 14 months.
Radwan Dakkak is the first person prosecuted, or the first to be sentenced, for the "unusual offence" sometimes referred to as "guilt by association", said Justice Peter Hamill on Friday.
"The offence criminalises association between an offender and persons who are members of a terrorist organisation, even where there have been no actions taken towards, or in preparation of, any terrorist act or foreign incursion activity," he said in the NSW Supreme Court.
Dakkak, 25, pleaded guilty to two commonwealth offences relating to his association with IS members Isaac El Matari and Sheikh Hassan Hussein, as well as an organisation known as Ahlut-Tawhid Publications.
Justice Hamill jailed him for 18 months with a non-parole period of 14 months, backdating the term to when Dakkak went into custody.
Subject to the commonwealth attorney-general granting parole in the meantime, Dakkak is to be released on January 1.
By pleading guilty, Dakkak admits that he intended to support the organisation to expand or continue to exist by his association with those named in the charges, the judge said.
"The nature of the support required to be established by the (above) element can be, as demonstrated in the present case, a long way removed from any actual terrorist act or foreign incursion activity," he said.
According to the agreed facts, he associated with Isaac El Matari for six months from January 2019.
"To Mr Dakkak's knowledge, Mr El Matari had been arrested in Lebanon for seeking to join IS in 2017 when he travelled there for that purpose," the judge said.
"Mr El Matari returned to Australia in 2018 but intended to return to the Middle East to fight with IS."
He discussed his plans with Dakkak, who gave encouraging responses and advice such as "not to have a full beard [when travelling] but also not to shave it off completely" and discussed the safest routes into the areas where IS was operating in Syria and Iraq.
In one conversation, the men discussed a terrorist attack in Sri Lanka in which children were killed and Dakkak expressed the view that their killing was justified in the circumstances based on what were "obviously extreme political and religious beliefs".
He also associated with Sheikh Hassan Hussein, admitting seeking religious instruction and understanding, while he interpreted and translated pro-IS ideological material largely of a religious nature for Ahlut-Tawhid Publications.
"The offences are serious but far from the most serious that might be caught by the section," the judge said.
"Because it is the first case prosecuted under the section, it is difficult to draw any comparisons other than in a theoretical or academic sense".
Letters he had written from jail showed Dakkak remained committed to a strict form of Islam.
"However, that is no crime and does not of itself suggest that he will involve himself in criminal activities in the future," he said.
He had no previous criminal record, a supportive fiancee and strong community support, but there was no evidence he had been de-radicalised.
Australian Associated Press
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