A criminologist who deemed the LynnMall attacker ‘low risk’ in 2018 believes opportunities to steer him away from violent extremism were missed.
Ahamed Samsudeen was described as high risk to the community when he was sentenced in July for possessing Islamic State propaganda, with the means and motivation to commit violent acts.
However, three years earlier, Australian National University criminologist Dr Clarke Jones told the High Court that Ahamed did not appear to be violent and did not fit the profile of a young Muslim who had been radicalized.
At the time he suggested “a carefully designed, culturally sensitive and closely monitored intervention program in the Muslim community of Auckland.”
Now, he said it was unclear how much rehab actually took place.
“People can change, sometimes quickly, sometimes over a longer period of time. But in 2018, we didn’t think it was violent,” he explained.
At the time, Ahamed seemed to feel marginalized and disconnected, Clarke said, as if he couldn’t “lift his foot” in society.
“Some of the material I was reading was disturbing and I had quite rigid views on religion and life in general. But I had also had some experience in difficult times and was, I would say, deeply depressed.”
In High Court, Samsudeen had admitted two counts of using a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage, two counts of knowingly distributing restricted material, and one count of failing to assist the police in exercising a power of search.
Another expert, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Jeremy Skipworth, was consulted and echoed Clarke’s concerns.
“Dr. Skipworth said that any form of home detention would tend to further exacerbate his mental health concerns, and that his successful community reintegration is likely to be assisted by cornerstones such as stable housing, personal support, appropriate employment and medical care.” , He says. Judge Wylie Sentencing Notes.
Judge Wylie imposed a supervision sentence, with special conditions including a psychological evaluation and a rehabilitation program with a service called Just Community.
Jones said he would really like to know more about the support Samsudeen actually received in Corrections.
“Did he respond to that treatment, if he was receiving any treatment, or did he focus more on the side of safety and monitoring and surveillance?”
When asked if the terrorist had enough support to ‘get better’, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said there were attempts to change the man’s mind, and none of them were successful.
But in a family statement released after the attack, Samsudeen’s brother said he sometimes listened.
“He would hang up the phone on us when we told him to forget about all the things that obsessed him. Then he would call us again when he realized he was wrong. Aathil was wrong again. [on Friday]. Of course we feel very sad that he could not be saved. The prisons and the situation were hard for him and he did not have any support. He told us that he was robbed there. “
Clarke said: “I would say we don’t have the right balance. In this case, there was too much focus on the narrative against terrorism or against violent extremism, rather than getting to the core of what was wrong with Samsudeen.” . “
“We can always improve the way we do things to have a greater type of preventive mechanisms within the government, the police and the communities.”
Clarke said that what happened at LynnMall was a tragedy and a terrible situation.