Muslim inmate difficult to manage

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The Auckland terrorist was a “very difficult” prisoner to manage and refused to engage with a court-ordered psychologist – but could not be charged with breaching his sentencing conditions, the Department of Corrections says.

Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen was being covertly tracked by police when he entered Countdown in New Lynn on Friday, took a knife from the shelves and started stabbing shoppers.

Seven people were injured in the attack, and four remained in Auckland City Hospital on Tuesday morning.

At the time of the attack, Samsudeen was serving a sentence of supervision in the community after being convicted of distributing videos that contained extreme violence.

One of his conditions was to undergo a psychological assessment but that never happened.

Corrections commissioner Rachel Leota said in a statement that “every effort” had been made to ensure Samsudeen complied, but he refused.

“Legal advice indicated that this was not sufficient to charge him with breaching the related condition of his sentence.”

Just what that legal advice was and why Samsudeen was not taken back into custody has not been released by Corrections.

Leota said: “He was a very, very difficult person to manage, and was increasingly openly hostile and abusive toward probation staff.

“Despite this, staff continued to work hard to engage him in his sentence and attempt to have him participate in treatment and activities aimed at reducing his risk of violence, which he consistently refused.”

Corrections organised for Samsudeen to live at a West Auckland mosque after his prison release.

Throughout his time in the community, Corrections continued its “monitoring and oversight” of him.

Leota said Corrections was in the process of applying to the court to strengthen his sentencing conditions.

“Corrections had anticipated that he would breach these and was preparing in advance to charge him for this. In addition, we were in the process of drafting an application to the High Court to strengthen his special conditions due to concerns about his escalating risk.”

Leota said the terrorist was a difficult prisoner.

While awaiting trial he was held in Mt Eden Central Remand Prison, where he assaulted staff while being moved to an exercise yard.

That attack saw him transferred to the country’s maximum security prison at Paremoremo.

“In prison his behaviour was non-compliant, with multiple incidents of threats and abuse toward staff, including numerous incidents of throwing urine and faeces at staff, threatening the use of violence, and assaulting staff.”

While in prison, he also refused to see a Corrections psychologist.

“Corrections engaged with the local Muslim community with the intention of having an imam meet with him regarding his spiritual beliefs. He met with the imam twice; however, he didn’t engage in a meaningful way.

“Corrections has no ability to compel an offender to take part in rehabilitation activities.”