Australia: Unanswered questions over police killing of Melbourne teenager
12 July 2017
The inquest into the death of Numan Haider, a working-class teenager shot by police on September 23, 2014, has raised further questions about his relations with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
Haider, 18, the son of Afghan migrants, was shot in the head at point-blank range in a police station parking lot in suburban Melbourne after he allegedly attacked two police officers with a knife. For reasons that have never been explained, the two Joint Counter Terrorism taskforce agents arranged to meet Haider there that evening.
The media and political establishment seized on Haider’s death to fuel a scare campaign about “lone wolf” terrorist attacks. Police initially claimed they asked to meet Haider over a “routine matter.” It later emerged that the teenager was closely monitored by ASIO over several months.
The coronial inquest, which is yet to release any findings, relies upon the police and intelligence agencies to provide the evidence, which is limited, given that it could also be used to investigate their own conduct. Even so, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government is determined to prevent light being shed on the agencies’ relations with Haider.
The Herald Sun reported on May 23 that the government “is believed to be so anxious about the inquest findings it has written, on behalf of ASIO and the AFP [Australian Federal Police], to Coroner John Olle asking for an advance copy of his report.”
Evidence has emerged that Haider may have been an ASIO informant when he was killed. The Herald Sun reported that “call charge records apparently show [Haider] made a call to an ASIO agent’s phone after he accidentally stabbed a…