Neil Prakash, a senior Daesh militant of Australian origin who was captured near the Turkish border last year, asked a court in southern Turkey not to extradite him to Australia.
Once the most wanted Australian Daesh militant, Prakash was finally captured while trying to sneak into Turkey on Oct. 24, 2016. Known by his Daesh alias, Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, Prakash has been accused at home of recruiting militants to the terror group.
The 27-year-old militant was brought to a courthouse in Kilis, the border province where he was captured, from a prison in Gaziantep.
In his third hearing since his detention, Prakash denied the terror charges, though he admitted to joining Daesh. He told the court he was not involved in any Daesh attacks and said he "fled" Daesh after he "regretted" joining it. He said he was fleeing the group when Turkish troops intercepted him.
After denying any criminal involvement, Prakash asked the judges not to extradite him to Australia, and if they did hand down a verdict for his deportation, he would prefer to be deported to a Muslim country. The court turned down his appeal and adjourned the hearing to September.
In a televised interview in May, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Prakash, a Melbourne-born militant, will be deported to Australia, citing an extradition treaty, adding that the extradition would take place "within months."
Prakash, who left Australia for Syria in 2013, was believed to have been killed in an airstrike against Daesh in Iraq's Mosul last year but actually managed to survive despite being wounded. While active in the group, he appeared in several propaganda videos and magazines for the terrorist organization. Australia accuses him of planning attacks in the country and recruiting Daesh militants. He is one of the militants accused of plotting an attack during the Anzac Day ceremonies in 2015.
Turkey's neighbors Iraq and Syria are both countries in which Daesh has controlled towns, and the proximity has made Turkey a popular destination for foreign fighters looking to sneak across the borders. The country has recently escalated its border security and cracked down on local Daesh networks.
Daesh is also behind a string of terror attacks in Turkey.
Turkey has detained over 5,000 Daesh suspects, deported over 3,290 foreign terrorist fighters from 95 countries and refused more than 38,269 individual entries to Turkey since Daesh emerged as a terrorist group.
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