Control order confirmed on SA terror woman

·2-min read

A South Australian woman convicted of taking steps to join the terror group Islamic State will be subject to an ongoing control order which limits her movements and activities.

The Federal Court on Wednesday ruled an interim order previously imposed on Zainab Abdirahman-Khalif should remain in place, without any changes.

The order significantly restricts her access to phones and the internet and also limits her movements, preventing her from leaving SA.

In handing down his decision, Justice Anthony Besanko said he would publish reasons in January.

The court was told previously that the Abdirahman-Khalif had learnt a "very salutary lesson" after spending time in jail and almost two years under a strict control order.

Her counsel Dominic Agresta said any ongoing risk she posed was low and any manifestation of that risk, such as relapsing and viewing extremist material online, was equally low.

Mr Agresta said his client had never engaged in violence or made threats of violence and her activities, including her phone and internet use, could still be monitored.

He said in one sense, unless the control order was removed, she would never be able to convince authorities she could resist viewing extremist material without a "threat hanging over her head".

"That's not an unreasonable proposition in this case given that the respondent has effectively been under a control order for coming up to two years," he said.

"When she wasn't under a control order she's been in custody in circumstances where she has learnt a very salutary lesson from the conduct she engaged in."

However, the Australian Federal Police argued the order was still reasonably necessary to protect the public with Abdirahman-Khalif continuing to pose a "real risk".

Counsel James Emmett said the court needed to take into account the cumulative impact of a significant number of disparate pieces of evidence, including material found on her phone, which painted a compelling picture.

"The weight of the evidence, when assessed cumulatively, is powerfully against the respondent and the court has only the respondent's untested words that she does not adhere to and did not adhere to those (extremist) views," he said.

The action against Abdirahman-Khalif comes after she served the majority of a three-year jail term.

In 2018, the former student was found guilty in the SA Supreme Court over taking steps to become a member of IS.

Prosecutors alleged she had communicated with other members of the group and organised a trip to join IS before she was arrested.

She was first stopped by police at Adelaide Airport while trying to board a plane to Istanbul, Turkey, in July 2016.

She told officers she was taking a last-minute holiday, despite having a small amount of clothing, no return flight and less than $200 in funds.

When sentencing her, Justice David Peek said Abdirahman-Khalif had repeatedly expressed support for IS and jihad by playing chants about martyrdom, infidels, extreme violence, killing and death.

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