Australia is giving consular help to the alleged senior Islamic State recruiter and conspirator Neil Prakash, with hopes he will share intelligence on the terrorist group, a federal minister has said.
Australia’s most wanted man, who has been held in Turkey on terrorism charges since his arrest last October, has received “basic” assistance from consular officials, the foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, has confirmed.
News Corp reported the help came at the request of the accused terrorist, who has told Turkish authorities he has two children born during fighting in Syria who may be entitled to Australian citizenship.
The Australian government’s focus was on intelligence that Prakash could share on Islamic State, Bishop’s cabinet colleague Greg Hunt said on Sunday.
“That’s our interest, precisely so as to protect Australians at home and abroad,” the health minister told Channel Seven.
Prakash has given Turkish police an account of his journey from Islamic State fighter to deserter who spent six months on the run after a death threat from a former commander, News Corp reported.
Bishop had to issue a special permit for Australian diplomatic officials to lend assistance to Prakash, who was subject to financial sanctions that brought 10 years jail to anyone giving him material support.
Officials have twice visited Prakash at a maximum security jail in Gaziantep and liaised with Turkish authorities on his behalf.
Prakash, who appeared in Islamic State propaganda material as one of its chief recruiters, was interviewed by Australian government officials in the months following his arrest on the Turkish border, the Guardian previously reported.
The former Melbourne man, whose father was Fijian Indian and his mother Cambodian, is accused in Turkey of planning and encouraging Islamic State terrorist attacks on Australians.
Prakash has been wanted for arrest by Australian federal police since August 2015 after he was linked to an alleged plot to…