Australia

Melbourne terror raid: Police face 'excessive force' complaint

A broken window from a police raid at a house in Hallam, a suburb of Melbourne, where police made one of several arrest during terror raids in Melbourne, Australia, 18 April 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police conducted several raids in Melbourne on Saturday morning

Australian police are investigating a mistreatment claim made by a teenager detained in an anti-terror operation.

Five teenage suspects were arrested over an alleged plot to carry out an attack at a World War One centenary event.

The families of two of the men have also alleged that officers used excessive force in Saturday's raids.

Police said the men were planning to target officers during an Anzac memorial event in Melbourne.

An 18-year-old, Sevdet Besim, has been charged with conspiring to commit a terrorist act.

Two men remain in custody. The other three have been released but police have said that one man is expected to be charged on weapons offences.

One of the suspects has been detained under a preventative detention order that allows him to be held for 14 days if necessary.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The father of one of the men arrested on Saturday said that his family had been traumatised by the raid

Local media report that it is the first time the order has been used in the state of Victoria.

'Traumatised'

Nearly 200 officers took part in the counter-terrorism operation.

A family member of one of the detained men told ABC News on Sunday that his family had been traumatised by the experience.

Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright said police would investigate the complaints, but he added that the risks were carried out "in high-risk situations".

"We believe at least some of these people will be armed and will have a strong motivation to hurt police," ABC News quoted him as saying.

"I'm not surprised there are some minor injuries as a result."

Police said that the men were "associates" of Abdul Numan Haider, a teenager shot dead in September after he stabbed two officers.

On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he would use a trip to Turkey - to commemorate the centenary of Anzac Day - to talk with Turkish leaders about how to stop foreign fighters from travelling to countries such as Iraq and Syria.

Speaking in New Zealand, he said that most Australians who had gone to fight in conflict zones had done so by going through the Turkish border.

Mr Abbott, as quoted by ABC, said he would ask what could be done to better police the border "and better ensure that people who have no reason to be going there are prevented from being there".

Anzac Day is an annual day of remembrance for servicemen and women from Australia and New Zealand. A series of events are planned for next week to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, Turkey.

Australia raised its threat level to high last September and has since carried out a series of counter-terrorism raids.

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