Iran says it requested the extradition of Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis 14 years ago but Australia refused to hand him over because there was no extradition agreement between the two countries.
Monis took 17 people hostage at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place on Monday morning. Police negotiated with him for 16 hours before officers stormed the building and two hostages as well as Monis were killed during the confrontation.
The head of Iran’s police said Monis was wanted for fraud while managing a travel agency in Iran before he fled to Australia via Malaysia in the late 1990s. An Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Monis’s psychological state was discussed several times with Australian officials.
Read more about Man Haron Monis here.
The Iranian cleric was granted political asylum in Australia in 2001 and was on bail for a string of violent offences, including being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.
He was also facing more than 50 sexual and indecent assault charges and had a conviction for sending abusive letters to families of deceased Australian soldiers.
His former lawyer, Manny Conditsis, told the ABC Monis was an isolated figure who had acted alone.
“He came to Australia in the late 1990s as I understand it, obtained political asylum in 2001. He fled Iran because he was in fear of his life from the regime at that time,” Mr Conditsis said.
“Monis personally faced charges as a result of writing letters to the families of deceased Australian soldiers.”
“They were dealt with in 2013. Subsequent to that he was charged with accessory before and after the fact in relation to the murder of his former spouse. Eventually he got bail.”
“I appeared for him in December of 2013 when he obtained bail essentially based on a case that was presented by the prosecution at the time. It had significant weaknesses in it. I think that had a significant impact on him getting bail at that time.”
But it was Monis’ ongoing legal battle over his conviction for sending offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers between 2007 and 2009 that may have tipped him over the edge.
Monday’s siege followed an unsuccessful, last-ditch attempt in the High Court to have the charges overturned.
PM says ‘madman’ well known to police and ASIO
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described Monis as a “madman”, and conceded systems to monitor and prevent the attack were not adequate.