Secret jailhouse letters traded between a convicted terrorist and a Melbourne woman accused of recruiting for Islamic State have been read aloud in court as one of the women fights to be released back into the community.
Hadashah Sa’adat Khan, 23, is said to have professed her love for her fellow inmate and discussed dying in the name of Allah before the pair were captured together on CCTV in the prison yard.
Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday that prison staff seized the letters late last year from inside the cells of Ms Khan and a fellow inmate known as “Prisoner S”, who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence for an attack on another person in the name of jihad.
“I love you to infinity and beyond. I think about you all the time,” one letter to Prisoner S read.
Senior Constable Jan-Paul Antemes, a federal agent with the Australian Federal Police, told the court that in other letters and cards, believed to have been sent between May and November 2020, Ms Khan expressed her support for martyrdom and the use of physical violence against others.
“There is no evidence she has recanted those beliefs,” Senior Constable Antemes said.
“[Ms Khan] shows great admiration for a person convicted for a serious terrorism offence. [Ms Khan] continues to adhere to and approve of extremist ideological beliefs.”
The court heard that US police first became aware of Ms Khan when they arrested a Indianapolis man as he attempted to fly from JFK airport to Casablanca in 2017.
He later provided a statement to police alleging contact with Ms Khan, prompting police to raid her family’s Hallam home in 2018.
Following a further statement from the American man, police again visited Ms Khan’s home in February 2020, when she was arrested.
There, police said they found messages on electronic devices that allegedly showed Ms Khan had been encouraging and attempting to help a man travel to Syria to fight with Islamic State.
In some of the messages found, Ms Khan allegedly made reference to the 9/11 terror attack, they said.
On Wednesday, Ms Khan applied for bail ahead of her committal scheduled for April.
Ms Khan sat quietly throughout the lengthy hearing, where she appeared via video link and in handcuffs.
In opposing bail, Senior Constable Antemes argued the accused was an unacceptable risk to the public if she were to be released back into the community.
The officer said that in other prison letters seized by the authorities, Prisoner S reportedly wrote to Ms Khan that heaven would be free of non-believers, which would be the “best thing ever” and that in early 2021 “sisters” who had been extracted from a Syrian refugee camp would soon be joining them.
“They’ll end up here in the same unit, I just hope they do not deflect,” Prisoner S wrote.
“May we be the pioneers and transformers.”
Senior Constable Antemes said prison CCTV also showed Mr Khan and Prisoner S together in a common area of Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, pointing to an article in a newspaper about legal proceedings in a terrorism case last year.
About 20 minutes after their last conversation, Prisoner S allegedly attacked a fellow prisoner for “religious reasons”, the court heard.
Ms Khan has not been charged over the prison attack and has since denied writing the letters, the court heard.
She is facing charges including recruiting for terrorist organisation Islamic State and undertaking preparations for incursions into a foreign country for the purpose of engaging in hostile actions, between June 15 and 21, 2016.
The bail application will continue on March 1.
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