An investigation is underway after a teenage prisoner believed to have been radicalised by the Islamic State carved a slogan into his cellmate’s forehead.
Maximum security prisoner Bourhan Hraichie was in the Mid-North Coast Correctional Centre in New South Wales, Sydney, for stealing when he launched the attack.
The 18-year-old’s victim was a minimum security prisoner aged 40, who has been hospitalised after also suffering a broken sternum, being choked and doused in hot water, The Australian reports. He is fighting for his life.
Hraichie is alleged to have used a razor blade to carve the letters ‘e4e’, said to stand for the law of retaliation “an eye for an eye” in the man’s forehead.
While the statement appears in both Christian and Islamic texts, it has been appropriated by the IS. Last year after IS militants burned a Jordanian pilot to death, experts said the retaliatory tactic was significant.
Laith Alkhouri of global security firm Flashpoint Intelligence told NBC: "It's saying: 'This is an eye for an eye.' This is our form of justice." A propaganda video produced by the fanatical group featuring the Belgium bombings was also titled with the phrase.
Corrections NSW Commissioner Peter Severin said he was “appalled” the two had been placed together and has since suspended the general manager at the jail near Kempsey.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald “the evidence that said that they shouldn’t have been together was mismanaged or withheld for some unknown reason.”
He added: “It’s quite a horrendous piece of work, not unlike torture.”
The Australian Daily Telegraph writes Hraichie has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and intentionally choking a person with recklessness.
It adds the teenager was previously found to be in possession of a hand-drawn IS flag in his cell, as well as having carved a slogan on the wall.