NSW counter-terrorism police raid artist over support for Palestine

April 10, 2024
Artist Shayne Chester was bailed up by counter terrorism unit police. Photo: Shayne Chester/Facebook

New South Wales counter terrorism officers bailed up an artist after he posted a criticism on X about the lenient treatment given to a Zionist who planted a bomb on a Palestine activist’s utility vechicle.

Shayne Chester’s home was raided on March 28 after he spoke publicly about what he believed were inadequate charges.

Police took Chester’s laptop, PC and mobile phone away for five days.

Chester’s now-deleted post referenced criticism by Alex Ryvchin, co-CEO of Executive Council of Australian Jewry, of two Sydney-based imams’ comments last November and December.

Ryvchin lodged vilification complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission for “derogatory generalisations about Jewish people”.

Chester compared that to the NSW Police’s tardy approach to finding and charging the Zionist who planted an improvised explosive device on his neighbour’s ute.

The media reporting and Premier Chris Minns comments on this bomb threat have been surprisingly low-key.

Chester, a convert to Islam, was fasting for Ramadan at the time of the raid at 2.45pm. 

He told Green Left that three police pinned him against a wall and body searched him.

“They ransacked the place. I lost my glasses when I was tackled … I was confused and … a bit phased too from having not eaten or drunk since suhoor [the meal eaten before dawn, during Ramadan]”.

One police officer accused Chester of having made a bomb threat.

“They showed me a copy of my tweet and asked me to explain it. I did, saying I was concerned about the outrage after the Imams’ comments but there was a lack of outrage for a man who had a bomb placed on his ute.”

Theo, who was flying a Palestinian flag in front of his home, spent eight weeks trying to get police to find the person who left the bomb because he feared for his family’s safety.

“The only ‘evidence’ the police had to raid my house with a counter-terrorism unit was that tweet,” Chester said.

“I don’t think the police had heard about the bomb in Botany. When I mentioned it they just looked blank.”

The police asked Chester to translate verses from the Quran on his wall. He did, and they were: “I seek forgiveness in God, The Family of Al-Imran.”

They also asked him, several times, if he was a Muslim, to which he told them, repeatedly, he had converted to Islam eight years ago.

Chester was not arrested or charged. However, police told him that an investigation is still underway.

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