Australia: Muslim man refuses to stand in court due to religion

Fatima Elzamtar with her child at the hearing for her partner at Downing Centre

A Muslim man who threatened to “slit the throat” of an intelligence officer has refused to stand for a judge in court.

Milad Bin Ahmad-Shah al-Ahmadzai, 24, yesterday declined to stand as he pleaded guilty to threatening serious harm to a Commonwealth official and using a carriage service to harass and menace.

His lawyer Nick Hanna yesterday told the District Court his client’s refusal to stand was due to his religion.

Judge Ian McClintock queried what religious view prevented al-Ahmadzai from standing, which Mr Hanna was unable to answer.

“It is a perceived view that it is not appropriate for him to stand in court. It is not advancing any discourtesy to the court,” Mr Hanna said.

Commonwealth prosecutor Karen Leavy said “on the face of it it’s disrespectful”.

Mr McClintock did not instruct al-Ahmadzai’s to stand but said he had noted it.

Al-Ahmadzai pleaded guilty in December last year to threatening the intelligence officer in a phone call in May 2013, telling him “I’m gonna crack your neck” and “come near my family again, I’m gonna slit your throat pig”.

h/t GR.

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