Philippines deports Australian Islamic preacher, no charges filed

By on July 24, 2014


The arrested Australian jihadist preacher Robert Edward "Musa" Cerantonio is now detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig. His deportation is currently being processed. Screenshot from ABS-CBN footage.
The arrested Australian jihadist preacher Robert Edward “Musa” Cerantonio is now detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig. His deportation is currently being processed. Screenshot from ABS-CBN footage.

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine authorities said Thursday they deported an Australian Islamic preacher suspected of links to terrorists based on YouTube videos allegedly showing him advocating jihad and urging local Muslims to support militants in the Middle East.

Robert Cerantonio, alias Musa, was accompanied on a flight to Melbourne late Tuesday by four Filipino immigration agents, said Elaine Tan, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation.

Tan said Cerantonio was deported for being an “undocumented foreign national” after the Australian government cancelled his passport. He was arrested two weeks ago in central Cebu province’s Lapu-Lapu city but faced no formal charges, she said.

Philippine police said Cerantonio had called for jihad on YouTube and lectured Filipino Muslims to support the Islamic militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL that controls parts of Iraq and Syria.

The Australian Federal Police said that Cerantonio’s social media postings were “offensive and disturbing” but did not violate Australia’s law. It said in a statement that the police “will continue to monitor and assess this material for any breaches of Australian law into the future.”

Cerantonio had been living in the country since 2013, according to Philippine authorities. Police Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa has said that the Australian government had co-ordinated with Philippine police to locate Cerantonio, who was under surveillance by local authorities for two weeks prior to his arrest.