Briton who fought against ISIL faces terrorism charge
A Briton who travelled to Syria to join a Kurdish militia has become the first person from the UK to face a terrorism charge for fighting against ISIL.
London’s Metropolitan Police force said on Wednesday that James Matthews, 43, is accused of “attending a place or places in Iraq and Syria where instruction or training was provided” for terrorist purposes.
In March, a Jim Matthews was a signatory on an “open letter from British YPG fighters on London attacks” posted on a Kurdish news website. It urged people not to give in to extremism following several deadly attacks.
Mr Matthews, a former soldier, is due in court on February 14 to be formally charged. Fellow British fighters said that Mr Matthews has been back in the UK for nearly two years and has been teaching English in central London.
Several Britons have been killed fighting with Kurdish YPG militia against ISIL and Mr Matthews’ supporters said that dozens of Britons had also travelled to the region. The criminal case against Mr Matthews raises questions about whether others could face similar action.
Supporters claimed that he was being “unfairly persecuted” and criticised the decision to bring a case against him.
Irishman Joshua Molloy, a former YPG fighter, questioned the message that the criminal charge sent to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting ISIL in a post on Twitter.