Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Friday that Turkey has agreed to a request from the government to extradite a Melbourne-born man it believes to be a top recruiter for ISIS terrorist organization.
“We’re looking forward – we should be getting him back within months, but it’s obviously got to go through the Turkish processes but we do have an extradition treaty,” Turnbull told Australian TV network Seven.
Neil Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and has appeared in ISIS videos and magazines.
The Australian government wrongly reported last year, based on US intelligence, that Prakash had been killed in an airstrike in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. It later confirmed that Prakash was jailed in Turkey.
Australia alleges that Prakash, also known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, actively recruited Australian men, women and children and encouraged acts of terrorism.
In May last year, Attorney-General George Brandis described Prakash as the “principal Australian reaching back from the Middle East” to terror networks in Melbourne and Sydney.
The government announced financial sanctions against him in 2015, including anyone giving him financial assistance, with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.
Turnbull said he was satisfied that Prakash, who has been “one of the key financiers and organizers” in ISIS “will be brought back to Australia and he will face the courts.”
Local media reported that Prakash was likely to face several terror-related charges if successfully extradited.
Australia raised its national terror threat level to “high” for the first time in 2015, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalized in Iraq or Syria.
The country, a staunch ally of the United States and its action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, believes more than 100 citizens are fighting in the region.
In its latest budget Tuesday, the Australian government announced it would invest over A$300 million in the Australian Federal Police to fight terrorism, providing an additional 100 intelligence experts, over 100 tactical response and covert surveillance operators, and almost 100 forensic specialists.