Why was this man released? From The Age, with thanks to GMG:
An Australian man arrested on terrorism charges in Lebanon should not have been given bail when facing serious firearms charges in NSW, Police Minister John Watkins said today.
Saleh Jamal was arrested on Friday in Lebanon along with a Lebanese Australian, known only as Haitham M, a Lebanese national, a Palestinian and another man whose nationality was unclear.
If found guilty the men could face life in prison.
Prosecutor Jean Fahd yesterday told reporters the men were linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
NSW Police yesterday confirmed they were seeking more information from Lebanese authorities through the Australian Federal Police about Jamal’s arrest.
He was wanted for breaching bail conditions while facing charges in connection with the 1998 shooting attack on the Lakemba police station in Sydney’s southwest.
He was also facing charges on other firearm-related offences.
Mr Watkins said Jamal had met bail conditions until he fled Australia some time earlier this year.
”I don’t believe that this person should have got bail in the first place, but after spending two years in jail awaiting bail, the court did give him bail,” he told reporters.
”Certain questions need to be asked as to what happened to this person in the months after that and how this person left Australia, presumably with false documents.
”That’s a matter I’ll be raising with the federal government.”
Mr Watkins said new laws to come into effect on July 1 would ban bail for anyone charged with a serious firearms offence.
He doubted Jamal would ever be brought back to Australia to face charges if found guilty in Lebanon.
”We would like to get this person back here to NSW but … I believe it will be a very long time before we get him back here because he’ll probably be incarcerated in the Middle East,” Mr Watkins said.
NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden today said he was appalled Jamal could flee the country.
”I’m stunned that somebody who is implicated in shootings, in particularly shooting up a police station in Sydney, is allowed to go free on bail and we now discover that they are a potential terrorist,” Mr Brogden told reporters.
”This is an appalling situation. We need to not only improve our bail laws, but what we desperately need to do is improve our intelligence so people like this are not getting bail.
”This guy should have been in jail from the outset, rather than now overseas and involved in terrorist activities.”
From Jamal’s family, the expected reaction:
”I think that he never did this thing, this is what my feeling, ’cause I know him, I know my son,” his father Mahmoud Jamal told Channel Nine.