Police say they believe the man who seized hostages inside a cafe in Sydney, Australia, is Man Haron Monis.
The self-styled Muslim cleric was born in Iran and sought political asylum in Australia in 1996.
He is well known to the Australian police and is currently on bail for being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.
He is also facing more than 40 indecent assault charges.
These relate to time allegedly spent as a self-proclaimed “spiritual healer” who dealt with so-called black magic at a premises in western Sydney, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Monis was previously convicted of sending offensive letters to the families of deceased Australian soldiers.
Iranian-born Monis, also known as Sheikh Haron and Mohammad Hassan Manteghi, wrote on his website that he used to be Shia but is no longer.
He said he “used to be a Rafidi, but not any more [sic]”, using a pejorative term that some hard-line Sunni Muslims use to refer to Shias.
He denied the criminal charges against him, saying they were politically motivated. He compared the accusations of assault against him to the case of Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
His website had been suspended by the time his identity was revealed in the media in connection with the siege.
Monis’ former lawyer, Manny Conditsis, told ABC News that Monis was an isolated figure.
“His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness,” he said.
Conditsis, who represented Monis last year when he was charged with being accessory to the murder of ex-wife Noleen Hayson Pal, said he thought the suspect might feel “he’s got nothing to lose.”
Read more at BBC.