Twelve year-old boy on ‘terror’ radar in Australia

Australia investigates 12 year old boy who allegedly poses as terror suspect, may have ties to last weeks killing of Sydney policeman

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin speaking on counterterrorism operation, September 17, 2014.

Australian security agencies are monitoring a 12 year old boy who is reportedly in connection with the terrorism activities, Australian federal police commissioner, Andrew Colvin, said in a security summit in Canberra on Thursday.

Australian police began to watch him following the killing of a police officer by 15-year-old boy Farhad Jabar outside Parramatta police Headquarter two weeks ago.

The 12 year old suspect is among a group of youth who were listed on a control order imposed this month for allegedly assisting the 15 year old in murder.

"We're shocked that a 12-year-old is on police radar for these types of matters," Colvin said.

"This threat has evolved; it's become younger."

“The problem is getting worse for Australia, not better," he also added.

Earlier this week, Australia launched a new plan which tighten counter-terrorism laws further, including restricting the movements of minors as young as 14 to prevent such deadly attacks.

Information about the 12-year-old boy's possible involvement in the Sydney shooting came a day after Canberra issued a statement to show its determination to boast counter-terror laws.

"The new laws will, among other things, lower the age at which a control order can be applied from sixteen to fourteen years of age," the statement said.

Control order allows serious restrictions on individuals who are suspected of being involved in "terrorist" activities. It can prevent people leaving the country, visiting certain areas or forces them to remain at home.

According to the National Security and counter-terrorism law, a control order cannot last longer than 12 months. Children under 16 years old can not be the subject of the order. For people aged 16 to 18, it can apply for a maximum of three months.

Amnesty International Australia's legal affairs spokesperson Katie Wood told Al Jazeera that details of the proposed law has not been released yet but it is clear that the new legislation would be improper with the country's international human rights obligations.

"It is important to remember that these orders would be placed on kids who have not been charged with a crime,"

"At their height, the orders can amount to house arrest. So when you think about it, this would be like a young kid being placed under curfew by the police."

President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Stephen Blanks also said that the proposed laws don't pay regard to human right standards.

"The proposed laws are undoubtedly going to be in breach of human rights standards,"

"The idea of detaining 14-year-old children for questioning without charge, and secretly for long periods of time, should be obviously unacceptable to the whole community."

Greg Barns from the Australian Lawyers Alliance pointed out that the control orders push youth to radicalise in reaction.

"The more oppression you provide to younger people, the more it spurs them on," Mr Barns told NewsRadio.

"The way to do it is to get in amongst these communities and get in amongst their leaders to ensure these young people are not being radicalised — but you don't do that by putting control orders on people."

TRTWorld and agencies