Lawsuit by father of slain jihadi to be thrown out
A damages claim filed against the Australian Federal Police by the father of a Gold Coast jihadist who was butchered in Syria while fighting for al-Qaeda is set to be thrown out of court because he has died.
Lawyers for the federal government have asked a Supreme Court judge in Brisbane to dismiss Mohamed Karroum's lawsuit.
It claimed the AFP breached their statutory duty by failing to stop his daughter Amira, 22, from travelling to Syria, where he was told she was shot in the head by the Syrian army and then dismembered.
The former private school girl died on January 9, 2014, and her body has never been found.
With help from the AFP and the department of foreign affairs, Mr Karroum was able to get a death certificate for his daughter in April 2015.
The Australian Government Solicitortold the court on February 8 that it wanted the case, filed on April 23, 2019, thrown out because Mr Karroum died two years ago, between August 11 and 13.
Mr Karroum, who lived in public housing in Labrador on the Gold Coast, was a self-represented litigant and had tried to drop his lawsuit against the AFP on July 24, 2019, three weeks before he died.
This was blocked because the proposal to drop the case had to be approved by the Office of Legal Services Coordination within the Commonwealth Attorney-General's department.
The green light from the AG's department was necessary because the case was considered "significant", court documents state.
Even after the AGS was told that Mr Karroum had died, it had difficulty confirming his death officially, and was told by the Queensland Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages in May last year that that "no record of a death certificate" for Karroum could be found, AGS solicitor Madeleine King told the court in her affidavit.
The AGS also asked the NSW registry office for a death certificate but was told they did not have one either.
AFP community liaison officer Shane Johnson told the court in an affidavit that he had been told that Queensland Police Service records show that Mr Karroum was discovered dead in his home on August 13, 2019 and was believed to have passed away due to natural causes up to two days' earlier.
Mr Johnson said he had been liaising with Mr Karroum in relation to Amira's death and used to visit Mr Karroum's house "approximately once a month between February 2014 and his death in 2019".
Mr Karroum, a Lebanese-born former Surfers Paradise kebab shop owner, stated in court documents that he was aggrieved with the July 2014 decision by AFP Superintendent Ian Houghton, from the professional standards complaints management team, to cease its investigation into his complaint that AFP inaction had enabled his daughter to leave Australia.
Mr Houghton told Mr Karroum that the AFP had warned his daughter "of the risks associated with travelling to conflict zones on several occasions" and had met with Mr Karroum to discuss his concerns about AFP officers actions.
Mr Karroum was also told by the Commonwealth Ombudsman in October 2015 that it had investigated his complaint about the actions of the AFP and decided that no further investigation was warranted.
Mr Karroum's complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman was that he believed that the AFP knew his daughter intended to fight in Syria and should not have allowed her to board a flight overseas in December 2013.
The Ombudsman told Mr Karroum that the only way the AFP could have stopped Amira boarding her international flight from Sydney was to have arrested her and but the AFP officers who spoke to Amira "do not appear to have turned their minds to the question of making an arrest", but also had no real grounds to arrest her.
The case is set to return to court for final orders later this year however no date has been set.
Originally published as Lawsuit by father of slain jihadi to be thrown out