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First Australian charged under its anti-terrorism act
In 2003, when he was nineteen, Mallah was arrested under Australia's new anti-terrorism act. In 2005 the Sydney Morning Herald reported "The Federal Government was so sure Zaky Mallah planned a suicide attack on its offices in Sydney he was the first man in NSW charged under new counter-terrorism laws. Yesterday, he was the first acquitted.".
A video Mallah had made was the trigger for his arrest. Mallah reportedly made the video after he had been denied a passport.
Mallah spent two years in a high security prison, while he awaited trial.
Fired from the ANZ Stadium
In 2011 Mallah was employed by the ANZ Stadium -- until he was fired for broadcasting a video of non-public areas of the Stadium on Youtube. The videos included a shot of a private dining room, for VIPs, and a shot of the kitchen, where he worked. ANZ Stadium officials stated that the broadcast breached his employment conditions. Mallah asserted that his firing was triggered by his employers learning that he had once been charged under the anti-terrorism act.
In 2011, following uprisings that were part of the Arab Spring, Mallah travelled to Syria. Mallah has asserted that all the other Australians he met in Syria were filling non-combat roles, like he filled, which would not violate Australian law.
Return to Australia
In December 2012, after returning from Syria, The Australian reported Mallah claimed he had received death threats from individuals who doubted his truthfulness, and suspected he was a covert employee of Australian security agencies.
In January 2013, Mallah was a member of a panel interviewed by Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Stephanie Smail. According to Smail, Mallah started the Free Syria Army Australia group.
In May 2013 Mallah published a guideline for other Australians considering volunteering to help Muslims in war zones how they could do so, without violating provisions in the anti-terrorism act that barred Australians from fighting in foreign wars. According to the Australian News Mallah's analysis was that various kinds of non-violent assistance in war zones would not violate Australian law. Treating wounded fighters would not violate Australian law; neither would preparing or serving rations, or carrying flags. Mallah claimed that individuals killed while aiding fighters would be martyrs entitled to the same after-life benefits an actual fighter is promised.
- Oz jihadist charged for issuing 'how-to survive' holy war list on Facebook, Business Insider, 2013-05-18. “An Australian has been charged under anti-terrorist laws for issuing a how-to list on Facebook for how young men can engage in holy war without getting killed or ending up in Guantanamo Bay.”
- Zaky Mallah not guilty of planning terrorist attack, ABC News, 7 April 2005. Retrieved on 4 October 2013.
- Candace Sutton. Australian ex terrorist accused's top tips for joining jihad, Australian News, 2013-05-17. Retrieved on 2013-05-18. “"Jihad is not just about taking up arms and fighting, it can also be undertaken without breaking laws," he said. "There are several methods of being involved in the struggle."”
- Amy Dale. Former terror suspect Zaky Mallah sacked for YouTube videos of restricted areas, The Telegraph (au), 2011-05-30. Retrieved on 2013-05-18. “Mr Mallah told The Daily Telegraph last night he believed he was sacked after his employer found he had once been accused of terrorism, a claim yesterday denied by ANZ Stadium.”
- Adam Shand. Aussie supporter of Syrian rebels faces death threats over ASIO contact, The Australian, 2012-12-24. Retrieved on 2013-05-18. “Sydney man Zaky Mallah, who was previously charged under anti-terror laws, told The Australian that he had been falsely accused of working for intelligence agencies and informing on Australian Muslims who had joined the Free Syrian Army.”
- Stephanie Smail. Arabic leaders call for closer scrutiny of Australians heading to Syria, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2013-01-04. Retrieved on 2013-05-18. “But some deny any Australians are fighting. Zaky Mallah started the Free Syria Army Australia group. He was previously charged under anti-terror laws but found not guilty. He says he's recently travelled to Syria and insists Australians are only providing humanitarian aid.”
- Oz jihadist charged for issuing 'how-to survive' holy war list on Facebook, Zee News, 2013-05-18. Retrieved on 2013-05-19. (in English) “An Australian has been charged under anti-terrorist laws for issuing a how-to list on Facebook for how young men can engage in holy war without getting killed or ending up in Guantanamo Bay.”