Muhammad Ibrahim had just pleaded not guilty in Burwood Local Court to destroying the graves in the Christian Orthodox section at Rookwood cemetery on November 27 last year. Several members of the Zabaikal Cossacks Australia surrounded Ibrahim and a couple of his supporters as they left the courthouse around 11.30am. After several seconds of pushing and shouting, the group let Ibrahim and his supporters leave but followed them down the street shouting at the hooded 25-year-old to “show his face”.
Ibrahim is charged with destroying property greater than $150,000 and supply of a prohibited drug. Police allege he and another man illegally entered the cemetery at night and damaged lights, flowers and headstones.
He and a 23-year-old were arrested near the south-west Sydney cemetery but were released without charge.
He was rearrested a few days later and charged with destroying the graves. A spokesman for Zabaikal Cossacks Australia said the historical enthusiasts had repaired “whole rows” of Russian Orthodox graves.
“We are Russians we are very strong in traditions, we are not a community that is weak,” he said.
“We are here to express support for Russia and we want to support the Australian police in apprehending this man.”
The matter will return to Burwood Local Court at a later date.