A self-styled Iranian cleric, currently on bail over a number of violent offences, has been named as the gunman responsible for the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney’s Martin Place.
Man Haron Monis, 50, who was given political asylum after coming to Australia as a refugee with his family in 1996, was convicted for sending hate mail to the families of dead Australian soldiers last year.
Police approved the release of his name just before 1am EAST. He is currently on bail, facing charges for being an accessory to the murder of his ex wife. She died after being stabbed and set alight in her home in April 2013.
He is also facing more than 40 sexual and indecent assault charges.
The self-styled Sheikh Haron was born Manteghi Bourjerdi in Iran, but fled Iran with his wife and children.
Haron Monis came to public notoriety for sending “grossly offensive” letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2009. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service, with a two-year good behaviour bond for 12 counts of using a postal service to cause offence. His girlfriend, Amirah Droudis, was also convicted of being part of the campaign and is also charged with the murder of his former wife.
Haron Monis also approached the family of one soldier at his funeral.
During the case, he launched an unsuccessful High Court challenge against the charges. The six-judge panel was split 3-3 over the issue and because there was no majority, the lower court’s decision stood.
Haron Monis chained himself up outside the courtroom in protest against his conviction, claiming he was a “man of peace”.
“This pen is my gun and these words are my bullets,” he said. “I fight with these weapons.”
In November 2013, he was charged with being an accessory before and after the fact to the murder of Noleen Hayson Pal, his ex wife. who was killed in April 2013 in the stairwell of her Werrington apartment. Droudis was charged with murder.
He was bailed on December 12 last year, with the Magistrate William Pierce saying bail was a “simple matter of fairness”.
Haron Monis claimed he was being framed by ASIO. He once again chained himself to the court in protest.
On March 2014, he was arrested and charged with the sexual and indecent assault of a woman during a “spiritual healing” consultation in Wentworthville.
He appeared before a Penrith Court last week over the sexual assault charges.
His website SheikHaron.com has been suspended, but featured the following statement on it earlier this evening.
Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia. If we stay silent towards the criminals we cannot have a peaceful society. The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are. Islam wants peace on the Earth, that’s why Muslims want to stop terrorism of America and its allies. When you speak out against crime you have taken one step towards peace.
His former lawyer, Manny Conditsis described him as a “damaged goods individual that’s done something quite outrageous” with “nothing to lose”.