Terrorism accused bailed on strict terms

A Melbourne man accused of funding terrorism has been told he will be jailed so fast his feet won’t touch the ground if he breaches his bail conditions.


Hassan El Sabsabi, 23, was granted bail as he awaits trial for allegedly sending $12,000 in seven payments to a person overseas to fund his travels to Syria and Turkey.

Investigations continue regarding a further $4000.

Crown prosecutor Krista Breckweg opposed bail, saying El Sabsabi was motivated by a powerful ideology and was an unacceptable flight risk.

“He has expressed a desire to go to Syria, he can access funds,” Ms Breckweg told the Victorian Supreme Court.

Justice Bernard Bongiorno said the newly married pizza shop worker may not face trial until mid-2016 and so satisfied the requirement for exceptional circumstances to be demonstrated for bail to be granted.

Justice Bongiorno warned El Sabsabi the charges of providing funds to a terrorist organisation were very serious.

“At the moment you are under a cloud,” Justice Bongiorno said.

He ordered El Sabsabi to provide surety of $250,000 and imposed strict bail conditions that require him to surrender his passport and restrict where he can live.

“The minute you breach one of them you’ll be in jail so fast your feet won’t touch the ground,” Justice Bongiorno told El Sabsabi on Wednesday.

Defence barrister Stewart Bayles argued the case against El Sabsabi had to be viewed in the context of the conflict in Syria.

The prosecution alleges El Sabsabi sent money to a member of the Jabhat al-Nusra organisation.

Mr Bayles said they would have issues proving El Sabsabi knew the recipient of the funds was a member of Jabhat al-Nusra and whether he knew the organisation was classified as a terrorist group.

“Jabhat al-Nusra is an organisation that seems to have grown up entirely out of that conflict,” Mr Bayles said.

He said there was no evidence El Sabsabi had expressed any sentiments against Australia, the US or the West, or allegations of physical risk to any person.

But Ms Breckweg said the case against El Sabsabi was strong, referencing a number of alleged Facebook and Skype interactions, including some which asked for donations to “support the cause of Allah”.

Justice Bongiorno told El Sabsabi he must not send money to anyone outside of Australia or contact the person to whom he allegedly sent funds in 2014.

He is required to report to police daily and cannot use social media.

El Sabsabi, of Seabrook, is due to return to court for a committal mention on February 3.