Zaky Mallah was the first Australian charged under former Prime Minister John Howard’s anti-terror laws in 2003. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “Mallah made a jihad-style video after he was refused a passport to travel to Lebanon. He told a police officer he wanted to take foreign affairs and ASIO officers hostage, killing them and himself in protest. He served two years in jail for the threats but was cleared of other charges.”
It was a sobering experience for an angry and disaffected young man. The conviction and subsequent stay in Goulburn Supermax jail also proscribed his future. Below is his take on life now and his aspirations. It’s been quite a journey and I for one really hope that Zaky is able to realise some goals and overcome his earlier missteps.
By Zaky Mallah
A criminal conviction is a criminal conviction- that must be clearly understood. After going through the criminal justice system myself in 2003 while being charged with terrorism, i have learn’t many things in life. It is sad that i had to learn in life the hard way. It seems that in life, people learn either of two ways: 1- by learning through the norms of life and becoming something and, 2- learning the hard way and living the life of crime. I can say i never lived a life of crime. I never lived a life of drugs but tried cocaine and weed. I never had a serious relationship but i came across many prostitutes in life- it was business, nothing persona! I never drank alcohol but i hang out with those who drink. surprisingly, i don’t have much Muslim friends anymore. In fact, i never really did have much Muslim religious friends at all. I am 27 turning 28 in two weeks. There are many things i regret in life- that is a normal human reaction. I have learnt the hard way in life to live a normal life today. i was raised to hang out only with Muslims. I was discouraged to hang out with non Muslims. When my parents died while i was at the young age of 13 and 16, i lived on my own with my own thoughts and views. It wasn’t long before i was charged with a LIFE term sentence after all that- i was left on my own. however, I can say that the mentality of only hanging out with Muslims was undone when i was sent to Goulburn and met many non Muslims. It had to take me to serve a jail sentence to understand that Muslims and Non Muslims are human beings- just like me (we all make mistakes). Goulburn was the only place that taught me to ‘hang out’ with ‘others’. For some reason, Barristers play a big part in my life now. Phillip Boulten SC is an example. He took on my case and helped me. He was not Muslim- nor was the Jury. I always say to myself that had i known this man at high school days, there would have been a good chance i would of become a half decent Silk- I find barristers interesting for some reason. Boulten was from Revesby area in his high school days- South West area (my area). Now, he is known as a top Barrister in the Bar in NSW. Boulten is however way older then me! I also look back at Charles Waterstreet SC in a documentary titled “Nothing but the Truth”. Waterstreet was medically troubled and faced heavy depression in life after the lose of his mother. I can kind of reflect on that as well, iv been there too. Waterstreet is known as a great Silk and a comedian that makes the whole Bar laugh in tears. He however, does not have a criminal record like i do. I have helped many people in my community with legal help even though i am not a Lawyer. I believe that if time can turn it heels and and return me to the age of 16 while living in Yagoona, a Barrister is what i would of loved to become. I don’t know if someone has put a spell in my drink- but i know that i would have become a half a decent barrister (with the weird mentality that i have) for my community and help them in the same way barristers have helped me in the court of law. I can conclude this, If I can attract ASIO, AFP and NSW Police including the Government to my attention at the age of 18 (while i was a big mouth), then imagine what i could have attracted had i been a Senior Counsel with a big mouth at the age of 27! It does really leave me to wonder!