Category: Sydney Siege

Sydney siege inquest: Katrina Dawson killed by fragments of police bullets – as it happened: 4 others were hit by police bullets and were lucky to survive. Is this a job well done?

Sydney siege  - police

A NSW coroner examines how hostages Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson and gunman Man Haron Monis died in the final, chaotic minutes of December’s siege of the Lindt cafe in Martin Place

Some of what we’ve learned today

  • Man Haron Monis entered the Lindt Cafe at 8:33am on Monday 15 December. He was wearing camouflage pants, a large backpack, and hiding a sawn-off pump-action shotgun.
  • He asked to speak with Tori Johnson, the manager of the cafe. Johnson appeared to become stressed as the two spoke. The doors were locked and Monis stood up to announce: “This is an attack. I have a bomb.”
  • Monis told Johnson to called triple-0 and tell the operator, “This is an attack on Australia by Islamic State.”
  • Monis claimed he was carrying a bomb and had several radio-controlled bombs in place at Martin Place and Circular Quay. No bombs were ever found.
  • Monis had no contact with Islamic State prior to the attacks.
  • He repeatedly threatened to shoot hostages throughout the 16-hour standoff.
  • At 2:14am, “without warning”, Johnson was told to kneel and then shot by Man Haron Monis at close range.
  • His death was “called in” by a police sniper, which triggered a raid on the cafe.
  • Monis fired two shots from his sawn-off shotgun as police entered the building. He was hit at least 13 times in the face and body and died “instantly” while trying to reload his gun.
  • Katrina Dawson was hit by six fragments of police bullets that ricocheted off the walls. One hit a major artery. She died shortly after.
  • Police fired a total of 22 rounds as they stormed the building. Ricochets hit another officer and three hostages, all of who survived.

How Martin Place siege killer Man Haron Monis went from being a dodgy travel agent in Iran to becoming a terrorist

Who Was the Gunman Behind the Sydney Siege?

AFTER a week of sitting in his Nissan spying around-the-clock on a house across the road in Tehran’s north, not for the first time Sassan Khalebani pondered how his life had come to this.

First there were the strange visits, then the abusive abrupt telephone calls. The previous week members of several local families began trying to smash the windows and glass tabletops of his small but busy travel agency in central Tehran in a rowdy melee that was threatening to turn more violent.

REVEALED: How twisted Man Haron Monis invaded our shores

SYDNEY SIEGE: 10 flaws that led to one an horrific day

He knew of course how it all began — Man Haron Monis, formerly known as Mohammad-Hassan Manteghi, whose house in Sa’adat Abad in north Tehran he was now sitting outside, in the hope of finding him and getting some answers. He never would.

Monis’ arrival at the Rahelenoor Tour and Travel Agency had been as sudden as his disappearance with the lifesavings of dozens of clients, which set in train a new life that would end half a world away in the Lindt Café in Martin Place in central Sydney.

As a young man ... Man Haron Monis who was born Mohammad-Hassan Manteghi Borujerdi. Pictu

As a young man … Man Haron Monis who was born Mohammad-Hassan Manteghi Borujerdi. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

A News Corp Australia investigation into Monis’ life in Iran reveals new details that suggest there may have been more to Monis beyond crazed idealist.

At the time he “disappeared”, he was managing director of the travel agency and a businessman with both high-level political and religious contacts. A father of two girls, he was also suspected of being an Iranian intelligence officer tasked with bringing disgrace and financial ruin to political opponents. He also stole far more money than has previously been reported.


Monis came to Rahelenoor travel agency as managing director in 1996. Nobody was really sure where he came from but staff were told he was now the new boss. At that time there were about a hundred such agencies operating in Tehran and it was a busy hub, offering not just flights but visas for those wanting to leave the republic to start a new life. Monis was at the time said to be a religious figure, having performed various studies, and was also married to Zahra Mobasheri, a university professor who tied the knot with him when she was still a teen in 1983. Mobasheri’s father Habibolah was deputy head of the prestigious Imam Sadiq University, a pivotal institution for the Iranian regime’s top cadre and officials from the State’s intelligence agency. Habibolah was known to be influential in the Iranian government.

A change of managing director was not seen as unusual and staff were told their new boss was a well connected 32-year-old father of two girls aged 7 and 8 years.

Double life ... Man Haron Monis was born Mohammad-Hassan Manteghi Borujerdi. This was the

Double life … Man Haron Monis was born Mohammad-Hassan Manteghi Borujerdi. This was the photo that was hanging on the wall of his office at the travel agency in Tehran where he was managing director. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

He occupied the top floor of the Shariati Street agency and had little to do with staff at the counters downstairs but worked 8am to 5pm, Saturday through to Thursday.

“He was very normal, smiley, would come in and say good morning to everyone and ‘where is my tea, someone bring me my tea’, normal things like this,” Khalebani recalled.

“He just went upstairs, oversaw business. The owner of the business knew of him from another religious connection and was told he would make a good managing director for the company. You could not imagine what he was really doing and was about to escape, nobody could believe he was going to escape.”

Calculated man ... Man Haron Monis had plans years ago. Here, police are depicted at the

Calculated man … Man Haron Monis had plans years ago. Here, police are depicted at the scene of the siege in Martin Place. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: News Corp Australia

Monis was planning his exit from almost the moment he took over the business. At the same time he was putting up a framed photograph of himself on the wall announcing his arrival, he was already looking to a rival travel agency to book him passage to Australia.

For the seven months he worked at the agency he made numerous appointments with families wishing to migrate to other countries, mostly Europe and also possibly Australia. Khalebani said Monis was dealing with 14 families, a total of 40 family members, who were selling off their assets for a new life abroad and that he had taken from them 750 million Iranian rials, the equivalent of about AUD$550,000 on rates of the day. This figure is considerably higher than the US$200,000 previously reported theft of life savings in exchange for visas, fees and start up costs overseas.

Shedding more light ... Sassan Khalebani worked with Man Haron Monis in the Tehran travel

Shedding more light … Sassan Khalebani worked with Man Haron Monis in the Tehran travel agency where he stole a fortune to start his new life in Australia. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

“He just talked, ‘OK if you want to go to Australia I can do it’, ‘you want Europe I can do it’, it was like this for six or seven months,” recalled one customer. Monis also explained that the owner of the agency, well known political figure Rasoul Montajebnia, had personal relationships with several ambassadors and consulates.

But Monis made no attempt to apply for any visas, according to official Iranian immigration papers, which show in July 1996 he had applied for himself through another travel agency, Vala Tours, for a working visa to Australia with a 4.2 rial (AUD$3000) return ticket issued two months later on September 9. He flew out on Iranian Airlines flight 840 on October 26 from Tehran to Kuala Lumpur then onto Sydney on Malaysian Airlines MH123. As a condition of the visa, he had booked a return ticket from Sydney departing on November 26, a section he was never going to take. He told those at that agency he would be back after he concluded some business deals and investment talks.

Deceptive and evil ... Sheikh Man Haron Monis used others to achieve his personal goals.

Deceptive and evil … Sheikh Man Haron Monis used others to achieve his personal goals. Picture: AAP Source: AAP

Three weeks after Monis was due to return, customers arrived at the agency seeking their visas.

“They sold everything they had, house, furniture everything to give money to this man to start a life somewhere in another country and be a resident there. Most of them were heading to Europe,” Khalebani recalled.

“We didn’t know he was going out of the country. One week, two week, one month waiting for this man but he didn’t show up himself and we see that everybody come asking ‘what happened to our visa?”

Monis used the name of respected agency boss Montajebnia and his stamped signature on all the documents, thereby directly linking him to all transactions. When he could not be found, it was Montajebnia who was then liable for their losses and the target of the customer’s anger.


Montajebnia had been a relatively outspoken vice president of the reformist opposition Etemad Melli political party in Iran. Two colleagues, including the party president Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, were candidates against the ruling president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election but were beaten in the first round of voting which gave Ahmadinejad a second term. The pair protested and claimed the results were rigged. They were promptly arrested and have been under house arrest ever since, including time in jail cells and being held in a ‘safe house’ belonging to the intelligence services with limited access to friends and family, telephones and TV. Their wives, also active vocal party members, were also placed under house arrest. Earlier this month Iranian Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijanoi said a decision would now be made to prosecute them in court. The death penalty for acting contrary to national security has been suggested.

ISLAMIC STATE: Lauds Man Monis’ attack in its own magazine

Chilling CCTV footage .... shows Monis during the terrifying Martin Place siege Picture:

Chilling CCTV footage …. shows Monis during the terrifying Martin Place siege Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Karroubi and Montajebnia were great friends and very close when they were both the equivalent of MPs. Karroubi particularly was seen as an influential figure in Iran, having twice been the chairman of the parliament in the early 1990s and again from 2000 to 2004.

At the time Monis came to work at Montajebnia’s travel and migration agency, it was a major source of revenue for the party with funds raised going towards the election prospects of Etemad Melli’s senior figures, including Montajebnia, Karroubi and Mousavi.

This is where a suspected conspiracy exists among Etemad Melli supporters, who believe Monis was a plant in the business to bring it to ruin and thereby so too a financial stream for the political reformist group.

“He was sent to attack the agency so they (candidates) would not go up, rise in popularity,” said one who asked not to be named.

“Someone wanted to make problem for this society (political party) and this man make the problem. They wanted to be the top, go to the top of government because they are against the government for some political issues but Manteghi (Monis) came inside and made problem for this group.”

UNVEILED: Inside Man Haron Monis’ Sydney home

Horrific ordeal ... a moment captured on film from the Martin Place siege. Picture: Chann

Horrific ordeal … a moment captured on film from the Martin Place siege. Picture: Channel 7 Source: Channel 7

It was widely known that Monis had studied at Sadiq University, the main training ground for Iran’s intelligence service. Some believed he was from the Right of politics and a supporter of the government so thought it strange he would be employed by the Left reformist party and even to have attended Karroubi rallies.

Khalebani, 42, said he was not sure whether Monis was a plant but said he certainly made trouble for his employers, not just in stealing the money but also by dobbing in Montajebnia’s son to the authorities for trying to skip his national military service. The tactic was to remove the son who was to see the day-to-day runnings of the operation and report to his father. The son was caught by military authorities and was not in the business for the months Monis carried out the theft.


Monis had performed religious studies but those spoken to by News Corp Australia scoffed at suggestions he was any sort of leading cleric. Simply completing such studies affords some status but not to lead others.

Still no-one could believe he could have fled the country the way he did.

Police were called and by January 1996 had barred him from leaving the country — even though he had already fled. Members of the 12 defrauded families trashed the travel agency and fought employees. Montajebnia’s business collapsed and he had to sell many assets, as well as lose his position as head of the local mosque. Still politically active, he now teaches at a local university.

The Montajebnia family declined to comment but confirmed it had struggled to pay back debts incurred by “the thief”, even in instalments to some of the victims. Montajebnia’s family had taken on the debt, primarily his son, and through a bank loan to pay back the 14 families was still in debt to the bank.

MONIS BURIAL: ‘Just dump him at sea’, Muslim leaders say

Self-styled ... Man Monis chained to a railing and waving Australian flags and holding se

Self-styled … Man Monis chained to a railing and waving Australian flags and holding self made signs. Picture: Cameron Richardson Source: News Corp Australia

Monis’ wife Mobasheri said his acts had brought shame to the family through his deception and he was a traitor to both his family and country. She said he was cruel, unhinged and a wife beater who terrorised their children, and she wanted to divorce him many times.

Despite being abandoned it would be five years before she formally divorced him even though she could have made the application after six months of his absence.

Professor Mohsen Alviri, an associate from Monis’ university days and now Professor in Tehran’s, Bagher Al-Oloom University, said Monis marriage was welcomed by her father who was impressed by the intelligent and religious man. But he, Alviri, later saw how Monis was prone to huge mood swings and could be friendly one minute and weird, angry and dismissive the next. He surmised that he simply had an ugly side which eventually went all bad.

VILE VIDEOS: Amirah Droudis appears on YouTube

On bail ... Amirah Droudis was charged with the murder of Monis' ex-wife. Picture Cameron

On bail … Amirah Droudis was charged with the murder of Monis’ ex-wife. Picture Cameron Richardson Source: News Corp Australia

Up close ... Amirah Droudis, Man Haron Monis’ current wife who is still alive. Picture: S

Up close … Amirah Droudis, Man Haron Monis’ current wife who is still alive. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Such was the dysfunctional marriage, there was an intervention and direct counselling by the influential Mahdavi Kani, former Iranian prime minister and interior minister and a founder in the Establishment during the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini.

It was another impressive connection, which appears to contradict the Iranian Government’s explanation that Monis was not connected to anyone of authority and was just a deranged fraudster, as the apparatus claimed in a public statement earlier this month.


Four years after the theft, in December 2000, a small news item with a photo on the front page of the UK-based Persian newspaper Kayhan London depicted Monis chaining himself to the gates of the NSW State Parliament in a protest. For many back in Iran it was the first sighting or knowledge of him since he disappeared.

Revelation ... Monis’ former colleagues and victims learned he had fled to Sydney through

Revelation … Monis’ former colleagues and victims learned he had fled to Sydney through this Persian newspaper, Kayhan London. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

His name was different but he was widely recognised by his local community.His former work colleagues still talk about the day they found out he was in Australia, both from the shock of finding him but also because of his crazy protest act. It was not normal, he was not like that when he worked with them.

“None of us could believe it was him,” Khalebani said. “Now people say he was crazy but he wasn’t when he worked with us. Australia did wrong here.

“If they had sent him back to Iran when the authorities, police, Interpol, had asked for him, it was better, but they didn’t do it and they said he had residence in Australia and they couldn’t give him back … and closed the file. And then Sydney happened.”

Unforgettable images ... a hostage runs from the Lindt Chocolate cafe in Martin Place, Sy

Unforgettable images … a hostage runs from the Lindt Chocolate cafe in Martin Place, Sydney. Picture: AAP Source: AAP

The Sydney siege should not be used to justify draconian new anti-terrorism laws

Sydney siege  - police

Heavily armed police storm the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place on Tuesday morning, ending a siege which killed two hostages and the gunman.

This will be used to justify so much: controversial security laws the Abbott government has already passed, the metadata retention law waiting in the wings and heaven knows what other laws may now be dreamed up in the aftermath of the shocking deaths in the Lindt cafe.

Dealing with Man Haron Monis never needed fancy new security laws. He has been on the radar of police – and probably Asio – since at least October 2009 when he turned up at a police station in Sydney’s western suburbs trying to report a bogus terrorist attack. He was charged, instead, with writing menacing letters to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

From that point until yesterday’s terrible events, police and Asio had all the authority they needed to keep track of a man who revealed himself over the years to be really nasty and really crazy.

Old laws allowed police to bug his phones, intercept his emails and place him under surveillance. They didn’t even need a warrant to access his metadata and track down everywhere Monis had been and everyone he was talking to year after year.

They didn’t need fresh laws threatening journalists with 10 years’ jail for revealing Asio’s newfangled “special” operations. Look at the superb cooperation the press displayed during the siege: forgoing scoop after scoop to follow the police strategy of denying Monis the oxygen of publicity.

In the months ahead, with due acknowledgement for the skill they showed in the siege, a failure of policing will have to be faced. Despite having all the powers they needed at their disposal, and despite Monis’s erratic behaviour over so many years, the Australian federal police, the NSW police and Asio weren’t able to prevent him putting into effect his crazy plan.

The cry will now go up for fresh powers. We’ll hear that old freedoms have to be curtailed and traditional restraints ditched in the interests of public security. There will be a clamour for grim legislation.

If new laws are needed, let’s have new laws. But these demands by politicians and police must be interrogated. And the questions that need to be asked should be absolutely practical: what new powers would have prevented that man from taking those hostages in Sydney on 15 December?

This is not a time for blanket new anti-terrorism laws. More facts may yet emerge, but Monis seems not to have been part of any terrorist operation. He wasn’t under orders. The horrors in the Lindt cafe seem to owe as much to Hollywood as terrorist manuals. All we know for certain is that Monis was a terrorist in his own crazy imagination.

Had he lived he would now be facing trial for terrible crimes. No gaps in the criminal law would have allowed him to escape punishment. No new statutes would be needed to send a man who did what he did to prison – almost certainly for the rest of his life. It’s all there.

Australia was not changed in the early hours of this morning. But it may be changed if these terrible events in Sydney are used to drive another agenda altogether: the criminalisation of the press and the needless extension of surveillance into the lives of all of us all in the name of fighting terrorism.