A police source named the man who has held an unknown number of civilians hostage at gunpoint in a Sydney cafe as Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis.
The police source, declining to be identified, stated “There’s no operational reason for that name to be held back by us now.”
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Monis is an Iranian cleric and refugee who was granted asylum in Australia. ABC reported that Monis faces over 40 sexual and indecent assault charges. According to Reuters, Monis was convicted in 2012 for “offensive and threatening letters to families of eight Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.” Monis has identified himself in the past as a “spiritual healer”.
Monis’s former attorney, Manny Conditsis, stated that “His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.”
Conditsis was an attorney for Monis when he was charged last year as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, Noleen Hayson Pal, who was stabbed multiple times and set on fire in western Sydney.
Conditsis said that Monis is “a damaged goods individual” who has “done something outrageous.”
UPDATE, December 15th, 2:51 p.m. EST: ABC News has reported that Monis was shot and killed during a “nighttime rescue operation.” Two hostages were also killed during the gunfire between Monis and the police.