December 17, 2014 / 2:10 AM / 3 years ago

Australian police concerned Sydney siege gunman was free on bail

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The commissioner of police in Australia’s New South Wales state, Andrew Scipione, said on Wednesday he was concerned that the man who took hostages in a Sydney cafe siege had been granted bail on earlier charges, leaving him free in the community.

Man Haron Monis, a self-styled sheikh who received political asylum from Iran in 2001, was well known to Australian police and security agencies, having been charged as an accessory to murder and with dozens of counts of sexual and indecent assault. He was free on bail when he began the cafe siege on Monday.

“We were concerned this man got bail from the very beginning,” Scipione told reporters, adding that police had requested that the courts refuse him bail.

Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Paul Tait

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