The lawyer for a man who allegedly recruited Australians to fight in Syria will lodge a High Court challenge against the Foreign Incursions Act.
A man accused of recruiting others to fight with terrorists in Syria will challenge laws banning Australians from involvement in foreign incursions.
Hamdi Alqudsi was the first person charged under the Foreign Incursions Act since the conflict in Syria began.
He was arrested at his western Sydney home in December after a four-month investigation by the AFP and NSW police.
Under the section of the crimes act relating to foreign incursions and recruitment, it’s illegal to travel to a foreign state or help someone to travel with the intention of engaging in hostile activity, or to train or be trained for hostile activities.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years jail.
It’s alleged Alqudsi ran a pipeline for Australians to join terrorist organisations such as Jabhat Al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates in their efforts to bring down the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The 39-year-old is accused of organising travel and contacts for six or seven Australians, including Amin Mohammed, who was arrested at Brisbane Airport on December 3.
Alqudsi is yet to enter a plea.
But the case may now be delayed after his lawyer Zali Burrows on Tuesday told Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court that she would launch a High Court legal challenge to the foreign incursions act.
“It’s constitutional validity deserves to be tested,” Ms Burrows told AAP on Tuesday.
She earlier told the court a number of “important issues” needed to be tested, including the foreign fighters law which was the “centrepiece of the prosecution”.
“We are foreshadowing a constitutional challenge to the High Court and will be filing a notice of motion to seek a stay of proceedings in the next two to three weeks,” Ms Burrows told the court.
Alqudsi was arrested at his St Helens Park home on December 3, but later released.
He was detained in counter-terrorism raids in Sydney last month.
Police had monitored calls between Amin and Alqudsi before their arrests last year, which allegedly revealed a major offensive was being planned in Syria involving “1500 brothers”.
Alqudsi also told Amin, a New Zealand national, of the urgent need to get to the front line and spoke of obtaining martyrdom, the prosecutor in the case against Amin told a Melbourne court earlier this month.
Amin, 24, said he and other “doctors” were “definitely” mentally ready for “surgery”, which prosecutors alleged was code for individuals preparing to go to Syria.
Alqudsi responds by telling Amin: “They will never come back until victory or martyrdom.”
Alqudsi’s matter before the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney was adjourned until October 21.
Fatima Elomar, the wife of Mohamed Elomar who is fighting with Islamic State and who earlier this year posted pictures online of himself holding the severed heads of Syrian government soldiers, is also part of the challenge.
The 29-year-old was charged under the Act earlier this year after she was stopped on May 3 as she tried to board an international flight with her children.