An Australian news website has reported that Sydney hostage taker Man Haron Monis, an Iranian who died after New South Wales police stormed the Lindt Café on Martin Place early yesterday after a 16-hour siege, had links to Fiji.
The website news.optuszoo.com.au reports that Monis second wife, Noleen Hayson Pal was a Fijian national.
Ms Pal, 30, died a horrific death in the stairwell outside Monis unit in Werrington in Sydneys west last year when she returned to collect their two children, then aged seven and four, from a custody visit with their dad.
She was stabbed 18 times, had fuel poured over her and was set on fire as she pleaded with her killer to stop, screaming: No, Ive got kids.
Monis, 50, was charged with being an accessory before and after the fact to his estranged wifes murder.
His then-girlfriend, Amirah Droudis, 35, was charged with murder. Both were freed on bail by magistrate William Pierce on December 12 last year at Penrith Local Court.
The website described Monis as someone who had been married three times, had four children and a teenage stepdaughter, but hadnt held down a job for more than a decade.
It says Monis abandoned his first wife and two children in Iran when he fled that country in 1996 and arrived in Australia on a tourist visa to seek political asylum.
Ms Pals relatives went on facebook during the height of the hostage crisis this week to vent their anger and frustration at the hostage taker while paying tribute to his ex-wife.
Ms Pals godfather, Ayuut Khalik, said she met Monis at college in Sydney after migrating from Fiji with her parents in 1987. Speaking in California, Mr Khalik told Americas NBC TV news that there had been something about Monis that he never liked but his goddaughter seemed happy at first.
Then her husband became domineering, forced her to wear a hijab as she converted to Islam, banned her from speaking to outsiders and beat her after their first child was born.
Early this year Monis was charged with 40 sex offences relating to assaults on seven people he treated while acting as a spiritual healer.
Monis attitudes towards women can be gleaned in a video he titled Victims of rape are guilty if they have incited and encouraged people to commit the rape.
Droudis, who dropped her Greek name of Anastasia when she converted to Islam and became a follower of the man who styled himself as a sheik, has moved in with him as Mrs Monis number three.
In a video uploaded to his website, Droudis declared she was a terrorist.
I regret to say I am a terrorist. I admit and formally confess that for many years I have been a terrorist but Ill try not to be any more! she wrote.
A family friend has told the Herald Sun that they married recently because they believed that a husband and wife could not be forced to give evidence against each other in court. They must not have known that three years ago, the High Court found that so-called spousal privilege no longer existed.
By the time the groom farewelled his bride at their Belmore home in southwest Sydney on Monday this week, packed his shotgun into a blue sports bag and brought terror to the heart of Sydney, the black magic expert and spiritual healer was a religious fanatic on a course of self-destruction.
He was an intensely conflicted and contradictory person, his former lawyer Manny Conditsis said yesterday.
He was a loner who had never found anywhere to fit in since he arrived on that flight from Iran.
He was on the fringe of the fringe. No community had accepted him, not the Iranians, not the Muslims, Mr Conditsis said.
Born Mohammad Hassan Mantegh, he changed his name when he arrived in Australia and in 2001 was granted political asylum after claiming he was a cleric whose liberal brand of Islam had led his first wife and children to be detained in Iran.
Monis became a spiritual healer in the early 2000s, advertising his Wentworthville consultancy in a local newspaper offering astrology, numerology, meditation and black magic services.
Some of his clients were sexually assaulted. Seven of them came forward earlier this year and Monis was charged.
By then, Monis had almost 15,000 followers on his Facebook pages and his own website where he claimed to be a peace activist but preached hate. On Sunday, the day before the siege, he railed online against Australian terrorism and vowed to fight the oppression and terrorism of (the) USA and its allies including (the) UK and Australia.
Ms Droudis appears in chilling videos posted to YouTube by Monis, claiming to be a terrorist, blaming rape victims for their attacks, and expressing happiness about the Holocaust and 9/11.
Along with Monis, last year she admitted her involvement in sending hate-filled letters to the families of Australian soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Conditsis said the actions were again those of a conflicted man. He had this passion for men and women dying in what he saw as unjust wars, he said.
Referring to Moniss letters several years ago to the families of Diggers, Mr Conditsis added: He wrote thousands of letters to politicians all over the world and he thought that by writing letters to the families of dead soldiers they would assist him in lobbying the Australian Government.