NZ refugee faces foreign fighter trial in Australia

Somali-born Amin Mohamed, 24 (3 News)
Somali-born Amin Mohamed, 24 (3 News)

A man accused of obtaining a New Zealand passport to fight in Syria is on trial in Australia.

Somali-born Amin Mohamed, 24, came to New Zealand as a child refugee in 1998.

Now he's in Melbourne defending four counts of preparing to enter a foreign state to engage in hostile activities.

Mohamed, from Auckland, insists he is not guilty. He says he did not want or plan to fight against the Syrian government.

But the Crown will argue the evidence overwhelmingly suggests otherwise.

They'll say two years ago Mohamed booked a flight from Brisbane to Turkey and planned to travel - on a New Zealand passport - to Syria to fight in its civil war.

Throughout the trial, it's expected numerous coded phone conversations will be produced in court - allegedly made on a cellphone bought under a false name.

Mohamed's trial at Melbourne's Supreme Court will officially start tomorrow. Today was set aside for pre-trial arguments.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

Mohamed attended Lynfield College and graduated with a degree in business from AUT in 2012. Staff said there was no record of any trouble.

In the Somali Graduate Profile Journal he wrote:

"I am aiming for a career in the business sector but ultimately I want to establish my own business and be successful in it."

But in Australia in December 2013, Mohamed was arrested after he was connected to an extremist criminal syndicate alleged to have been recruiting Australians to fight jihadists in Syria.

The ringleader, Hamdi Al qudsi, goes on trial in December.

Mohamed's lawyer will argue there's no evidence of any connection between his client and Syria.

3 News