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Senator Bolkus misleads the Senate on Lebanese terrorists in Australia



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and Ethnic Affairs

MEDIN.

Senator Jim Short

Shadow Minister for Immigration the Leader on Multicultural Affairs

afEA 24/94

SENATOR BOLKUS MISLEADS THE SENATE ON LEBANESE TERRORISTS IN AUSTRALIA

Senator Bo&us has mislead the Senate on two occasions in the last two days.

Yesterday I asked the Minister whether he was aware of the presence in Australia of a Mr Antonios Elias Obeid. Whether this was the same Mr Obeid for whom the Lebanese authorities had issued warrants for arrest in connection with the slaying, in October 1990, of Maronite Christian leader, Mr Dany Chamoun and his family, and the bombing of a

church in Lebanon on 27 February 1994, causing further loss of life. And whether he could ensure the Senate that the Government would cooperate fully with the Lebanese authorities to ensure Mr Obeid is returned to Lebanon to stand trial if requested.

Senator BoIkus in his answer sought to mislead the Senate when he said 'There has not yet been a request for extradition from any government. Of course, if we receive a request we would respond to it and the Attorney General would consider it" Senator BoIkus initially reiterated this position today. This is clearly'not correct, as a letter from

the Lebanese Ambassador in Australia I tabled in the Senate today reveals that the Lebanese Government sought assistance from Australia on 4 May 1994. (A copy is attached)

Today when I asked Senator Bolkus whether he was aware of any warrants for Mr Obeid's arrest he denied this. He again appears to have mislead the Senate on this matter. I also tabled in the Senate today a briefing note from the Minister's Department -from which he has quoted - which explicitly states the fact of the Obeid warrants, along with warrants for a Mr Chahine who is alleged to have participated with Mr Obeid in

terrorist activities in Lebanon. (a copy is attached)

The Leader of the Government, and Foreign Minister, Senator Gareth Evans has implicated himself in this matter by his attempts to also mislead the Senate over the Lebanese Government's requests to Australia for the return of Mr Atonios Obeid and Mr Jean Chahine. He is also derelict in the performance of his duties if he really is unaware of the fact that the Australian Ambassador to Lebanon was called into the Lebanese Foreign Ministry in Beirut on 18 June 1994 to receive expressions of concern

over Australia's handling of this matter.

Canberra 30 June 1994 For further information please contact Senator Jim Short (06) 277 3119

•

Senator Short 30June1994 Page2

HANSARD PINK

Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Short,

Referring to your letter of today, kindly be advised that warrants

have been issued for the arrest of several suspects in the cases of the

murder of Danny Chamoun and his family and the bombing of the Lady of

Salvation Church in Lebanon. Quite a few of the suspects have fled the

country, among them a certain Mr Antonios Elias Obeid known also as

Antonios Elias Elias and/or Tony Obeid and a Jean J. Chahin. Both are known

to be in Australia.

To the best of my knowledge, the competent judicial authorities in

Lebanon made a preliminary approach, through the appropriate channels, to

the various foreign governments, including Australia, in order to initiate

the necessary procedures for the arrest and possible extradition to Lebanon

of the afore mentioned persons. The request to Australia was forwarded on 4

May, 1994.

Yours sincerely,

Latif Abul-Husn

Ambassador of Lebanon gend guestion9

Page 2.2 Turn #41 Turn_Time 14.00

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I In gable dated 28 Juno 194, our IhinciPi g Migration =or it Dalnesaus has advised Ur:

- An application from Aztoeios Obeid was lodged in_Cyptus following initial telephota representations from Mr &idle Obeid N11.4 (NEW) ixt MOM .-1992. 1* Eddia Obeid sone that Antonio Obeid (e distant relative) was in danger ftent tte Syrian, authorities in 1,Atbanoa b14644 of b.

with the I th mse p erces mut =cigar:4d to Laws Lel!iaost immetatifily,

iltnnphilett w made for our ozigration oilier to 'Alit Orr= OotIlair 19511 Mr Obeid AC was *Akita by fix on 31 August 1,992 that Antonini Obeid Amid IMF tt Applicadmi- ftiti %UV lacy la Cyprus no _ later than 28 September 1992 to allow IzerView 4) matt Antonini

Oboisl approached the At2410atu Culfteitilitan tiMCOSUL 0:- 21 September 1992 mi. =MEP Applicata& snd nomination. forma (whigit had beet doircleted Nit ()boa's %LC) ;Mu in Australia sad forwarded to sopiloms) wore lodged.

N. was notataeted 1)y * **al Oteris nlise (DOD 11104) ig Set Ryde en Animalism edam hold* Australia Passport tio. Ki31,851d.

Axconios Obeid was interviewed in Nicosia. Oft 5 Otto* 1993. A detailed written Mum of 0141 svot Wusid a loort bhu teildiar with wrirign haetsmim4 =Mit

- On 2 ember 102 =plated sea:miry ftitsts were it's-mm:44 sepatettlY ASZO with Antontos Obeirl i s detailed ato m= d dab= asid support:I fineurrientst1an. (am Mb) Issd aibeaitted 0,1*ae pont amides*, with this ir rgtP

licatio n (dated 22 August 1902 stid 22 September 1992).

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24JUNE1994,

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