The Characters

Greg Barns

Greg is a barrister, writer and commentator. He practices in the area of human rights and criminal law from chambers in Hobart and Melbourne. Greg is a former senior political adviser to a number of Liberal Party premiers and federal government ministers and worked closely with Malcolm Turnbull on the 1999 Republic campaign. He left the Liberal Party in 2002 after he was dis-endorsed for his support of asylum seekers. He is a legal adviser to the Tasmanian lobby group Prison Action Reform and is a Director of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. Greg is the author of three books on Australian politics and writes regularly for the Hobart Mercury, Crikey, the South China Morning Post, The Age and Online Opinion.

Rob Stary

Rob Stary runs his own private law firm, Robert Stary and Associates, one of the largest criminal law practices in Victoria with offices based in Melbourne, Footscray, Sunshine, Ringwood and Geelong. Rob led the defence team in the Melbourne terrorism trial. He also represented Jack Thomas. He has been President of the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association since 2004 and is a passionate advocate for human rights. Recently he received the Law Institute Human Rights Award.

Abdullah Merhi

Abdullah is the youngest of the twelve accused. He was nineteen when he was arrested. He was born in Australia of Lebanese parents and worked as an apprentice electrician. Abdullah is married with one child who was born after Abdullah went to prison. Abdullah has a reputation for being a considerate and thoughtful person who thinks deeply about his religion. He is a member of a large family whose religious beliefs vary from extremely devout to atheist. The Merhi family is a microcosm of Australian diversity.

Omar Merhi
(Brother of the accused)

Omar is Abdullah Merhi’s older brother. He is a passionate advocate for understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. He has participated in many media interviews since his brother’s arrest, trial and subsequent conviction. Omar is Apprenticeship Officer for the Electrical Trade Union and a passionate Aussie rules footy coach who feels as Aussie as anyone else. Omar is married with 3 kids, and lives and works in the inner north of Melbourne.

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