Two men have been arrested today by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) Sydney as part of the ongoing Operation Appleby investigation into the alleged planning of a terrorist attack in Australia, reported AAP.
A 20-year-old Raby man and a 15-year-old male from Georges Hall were arrested at their homes this morning, and then later charged with one count each of conspiracy to conduct an act in preparation for a terrorist act, contrary to section 101.6, by virtue of section 11.5, of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995.
These charges relate to material that was seized during search warrants conducted by Operation Appleby investigators in December 2014. It will be alleged in court the men were involved in formulating documents connected with preparations to facilitate, assist or engage a person to undertake a terrorist act.
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner National Security Michael Phelan said law enforcement and security agencies will continue to work together on complex and long-term investigations, including after overt activity is taken to disrupt potential terrorist acts.
“The charges laid today are the direct result of ongoing investigations from material seized in previous Operation Appleby activity in Sydney during September and December 2014,” said Deputy Commissioner Phelan.
“The JCTT conducted disruption activity to ensure the safety of the community last year and has continued to examine the evidence gathered and investigate potential criminal offences. We will allege that the charges today relate to evidence of a criminal act.”
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Special Operations Catherine Burn reiterated that information from the community is vital to police efforts to disrupt the plans of those who pursue an extreme path.
“It is disturbing that we continue to deal with teenaged children in this environment. To be putting a 15-year-old before the courts on very serious charges that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment demonstrates the difficulties law enforcement face,” said Deputy Commissioner Burn.
“Operation Appleby has demonstrated the effectiveness of Joint Counter Terrorism Team’s efforts in NSW. I thank our officers for their dedication to the tasks of both disrupting terror planning and putting people before the courts when we have the evidence to do so.”
The 20-year-old Raby man is scheduled to appear before Campbelltown Local Court this afternoon.
The 15-year-old juvenile is scheduled to appear before Parramatta Children’s Court today.
Today’s activities bring the total number of people charged by the JCTT Sydney in relation to Operation Appleby to 11 since September 2014.
— NSW Police (@nswpolice) December 22, 2015
ABC noted, Deputy Commissioner Burn said the arrests related to plots thwarted by Operation Appleby last year and in December of this year, and that the foiled attacks were not new.
“I do need to stress that this activity today relates to events of last year, it relates to documents and other material seized in search warrants last year,” she said.
“There is no specific threat, there is no current threat, there is no pending threat, and at this time of the year when we are moving into Christmas and new year, please make sure that you go about your business.”