Bangladeshi student gets 42-year jail in Australia

Canberra: A Bangladeshi student was sentenced to 42 years in jail by an Australian court on Wednesday for intentionally engaging in a terrorist act after stabbing her homestay landlord last year in an Islamic State-inspired attack.

On February 9, 2018, Momena Shoma stabbed Roger Singaravelu in the neck with a kitchen knife while he was taking a nap with his five-year-old daughter in his Melbourne home. Both survived the attack.

The Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne handed down the sentence to the 26-year-old with a 31-year non-parole period.

Shoma pleaded guilty in September to engaging in a terrorist act for advancing a political, religious or ideological cause, namely violent jihad, ABC News reported.

Eight days after arriving in the country to study at La Trobe University, Shoma yelled “Allahu Akbar” as she plunged the knife into Singaravelu’s neck, the court heard.

The injury was so deep that it fractured his spine. The blade got lodged so deeply in his neck that it snapped when he tried to remove it. His five-year-old daughter witnessed the attack and still suffers from fear, trauma and an inability to trust people.

“It is the first time in Australia that a sentence will be imposed for the offence of intentionally engaging in a terrorist act,” Justice Lesley Taylor said in her judgment, according to Efe news.

Justice Taylor said when Shoma was approached by a neighbour, she said she had stabbed the man because she was ordered to do so by the caliph of the Islamic State terror group and had gone to Australia to attack someone, expressing the hope Singaravelu would die.

According to the judgment, Shoma travelled to Australia with the sole aim of committing a terrorist act and she brought with her the weapon with which she intended to carry out the attack. She displayed no remorse for her act, it added.

“Indeed the only regret you have uttered is that you did not succeed in taking Singaravelu’s life,” Justice Taylor said in her judgment, adding Shoma’s chances of rehabilitation were poor.

“Your deeds and words, and the intentions accompanying them, are chilling. They have sent ripples of horror throughout the Australian community. But they do not make you a martyr. They do not make you a beacon of Islam. They make you an undistinguished criminal. You should not mistake your passing notoriety for importance, nor equate it with achievement,” Justice Taylor said.


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