Sevdet Besim

Eighteen-year-old Sevdet Besim is an alleged homegrown extremist from Melbourne, Australia. On April 17, 2015, Besim was one of five arrested in an alleged conspiracy to launch an ISIS-inspired domestic terror attack. The suspects allegedly planned to attack an Anzac Day celebration—an Australian national holiday—at an undisclosed location inside Australia.Chris Vedelago, Farrah Tomazin, Tammy Mills, Liam Mannix, Patrick Hatch and Benjamin Millar, “Five arrested in counter-terrorism raids in Melbourne’s south-east,” Age (Victoria), April 19, 2015, http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/five-arrested-in-counterterrorism-raids-in-melbournes-southeast-20150418-1mns9h.html; Stephanie Anderson, “Melbourne terror suspect Sevdet Besim denied bail over alleged Anzac Day attack plot,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, May 26, 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-26/melbourne-terror-suspect-sevdet-besim-denied-bail-anzac-plot/6497324.

Besim allegedly intended to run over a police officer in his car and “[behead] him with a knife and then [go] on a violent rampage that would end in Besim’s death,” according to the Guardian.“Melbourne teenager accused of plotting Anzac Day attack is denied bail,” Australian Associated Press, May 26, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/may/26/melbourne-teenager-accused-of-plotting-anzac-day-attack-is-denied-bail. Besim first appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on April 18, where he was charged with “conspiracy to commit acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts.”Sarah Carty, “Anzac Day terror plotters were going to ‘mow down a police officer with a car, and stab him to death with a knife before seizing his gun and going on a shooting rampage,’ official says,” Daily Mail, April 20, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3046964/Anzac-Day-terror-plotters-going-mow-police-officer-car-kill-knife-seizing-gun-going-shooting-rampage-official-says.html. Besim appeared in court again on April 24 for his hearing.“Melbourne teen charged over Anzac Day terror plot applies for bail,” Herald Sun, April 24, 2015, http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/melbourne-teen-charged-over-anzac-day-terror-plot-applies-for-bail/story-fni0fit3-1227318445029. He is currently held in custody in Melbourne, Australia, awaiting his next hearing.Adam Cooper, “Anzac Day terror plot accused teens Harun Causevic and Sevdet Besim not to seek bail,” Age, April 30, 2015, http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/anzac-day-terror-plot-accused-teens-harun-causevic-and-sevdet-besim-not-to-seek-bail-20150430-1mwnqa.html.

Prior to his arrest, Australian authorities uncovered phone conversations between Besim and an unnamed minor in Britain, revealing Besim’s plans to commit terrorist acts, including “[taking] out some cops” and “intelligence agents,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.Emma Younger and Loretta Florance, “Links to terror suspects prompted Victoria Police to use highly secretive order to detain Harun Causevic, court reveals,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, June 3, 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-03/details-victoria-police-used-protective-detention-order/6519084. Besim left a note for his family, presumably anticipating them reading it after the attack was carried out. The note implied that Besim intended to die during the attack, as it provided instructions for his burial.“Melbourne teenager accused of plotting Anzac Day attack is denied bail,” Australian Associated Press, May 26, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/may/26/melbourne-teenager-accused-of-plotting-anzac-day-attack-is-denied-bail.

Prior to his arrest, Besim ran a pro-ISIS Twitter account.

Besim was a friend and alleged co-conspirator of Abdul Numan Haider, who was suspected of plotting an attack against Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot.“Abdul Numan Haider was ‘stabbing a police officer’ when he was shot dead,” Associated Press, October 2, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/03/abdul-numan-haider-stabbing-policeman-when-he-was-shot-dead-court-hears. Police discovered that Haider had been researching the Prime Minister’s travel plans and arranged a meeting with the suspect for investigation.“Melbourne shooting: What we know about Abdul Numan Haider, shot dead after stabbing anti-terrorism officers at Endeavour Hills,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 24, 2014, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-24/what-we-know-about-abdul-numan-haider/5767044. At the meeting on September 23, Haider stabbed a police officer, and was subsequently shot.“Abdul Numan Haider was ‘stabbing a police officer’ when he was shot dead,” Associated Press, October 2, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/03/abdul-numan-haider-stabbing-policeman-when-he-was-shot-dead-court-hears.

Besim’s Twitter account gained attention from authorities after he tweeted to the police on September 25th, demanding footage of Haider’s shooting. Public alarm surrounding Besim increased significantly after Besim was found on Haider’s list of associates.Stephanie Anderson, “Melbourne terror suspect Sevdet Besim denied bail over alleged Anzac Day attack plot,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, May 26, 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-26/melbourne-terror-suspect-sevdet-besim-denied-bail-anzac-plot/6497324.

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