Turkish court jails Australian ex-rapper turned IS jihadist

Published March 16, 2019, 12:49 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Agence France-Presse

A Turkish court on Friday jailed a former Australian rapper who become his country’s most wanted Islamic State suspect on charges of joining an “armed terrorist organization”, local DHA press agency reported.

Neil Prakash, born in Melbourne, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years by a court in Kilis in southeast Turkey, DHA said. He was caught in 2016 by Turkish forces as he tried to cross from Syria.

Authorities said he was a senior recruiter for Islamic State and had been linked to terror plots to kill Australians, including a failed Melbourne plan to behead a police officer.

Reported to be of Indian, Fijian and Cambodian background, Prakash used the internet to promote the jihadist group and recruit Australians.

In his trial, Prakash said he received training from IS in their de-facto capital of Raqa in Syria before moving north to the town of Kobane to fight Kurdish militia.

He said he regretted joining the group after seeing its “true face”.

Known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, Prakash was reportedly on a list of high-value IS recruiters targeted by the US in drone attacks in Iraq.

Turkey was a major route for foreign jihadists making their way to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic militants. But Ankara later cracked down and stepped up arrests of foreign fighters.