Trial begins for NZ man over alleged Syria bid

  • 28/09/2015
Amin Mohamed (3 News)
Amin Mohamed (3 News)

A New Zealand citizen accused of attempting to join the conflict in Syria used four different phones to have conversations about "a big job" and "a big surgery" just days before attempting to fly to Turkey, a Melbourne court has heard.

Amin Mohamed, a 25-year-old Melbourne resident, is standing trial in the Victorian Supreme Court on three charges relating to an alleged bid to enter Syria in September 2013.

Crown prosecutors told the jury they would hear several recorded phone conversations in which Mohamed discusses travelling to "Isabella" for "a big surgery", which the Crown alleges was code employed in a bid to avoid detection by authorities.

Prosecutor Lesley Taylor said there was evidence Mohamed had no intention of returning to Australia after flying to Turkey, as he had quit his job just two weeks after receiving a promotion, and had sold his car.

She said he told his employer he was resigning because his mother was terminally ill and he was taking her back to her home country to die.

But he later told authorities he was travelling to Turkey en route to Denmark where he was to meet his fiancee.

He made reference to two or three fellow travellers, calling them "doctors" or "soccer players", she said.

Recorded phone conversations that will be played during the trial include discussions Mohamed had with others about altering their appearance to look like tourists, Ms Taylor told the court today.

"They had a pre-planned story to give to authorities if questioned," she said.

Mohamed had a flight booked from Brisbane to Istanbul on September 19, 2013, but was prevented from leaving the country after his passport was cancelled.

Mohamed has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempting to enter a foreign state to engage in hostile activities.

He is accused of applying for a New Zealand passport, booking a flight to Istanbul and accepting contact details of a man named Omar all with the intention of entering Syria via the southern Turkish province of Hatay.

Defence barrister Julian McMahon said much of what was alleged about his client applying for a passport and booking a flight to Turkey was not in dispute, but asked them to consider what the evidence revealed about Mohamed's intent to engage in hostile activities in Syria.

"Don't pre-judge," Mr McMahon told the jury.

"You don't have all the evidence."

The trial continues before Justice Lex Lasry.

NZN