Terror charges against Britons accused of assisting man to fight Daesh in Syria dropped

Terror charges against Britons accused of assisting man to fight Daesh in Syria dropped
Terror charges against Britons accused of assisting man to fight Daesh in Syria dropped

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Terror charges against Britons accused of assisting man to fight Daesh in Syria dropped

LONDON: Cases against three British men, one of whom was accused of attempting to travel to Syria to fight alongside the Kurdish YPG against Daesh, were dropped on Friday.

Daniel Burke, 32, a former solider from Manchester who had been in custody since December 2019, was charged with terror offences on suspicion of attempting to travel to Syria to fight against Daesh, as well as helping 27-year-old Daniel Newey, another Briton who allegedly went to Syria last year, to leave the UK.

Newey’s father Paul, 49, and brother Sam, 19, were also accused of trying to help Daniel reach Syria.

At defense hearings at the Old Bailey in London on Friday, the prosecution announced it would offer no evidence against Burke and prosecutor Simon Davis confirmed no case would proceed against Newey’s father or brother.

Davis said there was “insufficient evidence to sustain realistic prospect of conviction,” but did not disclose why the prosecution had abandoned its case.

Lawyers for the defendants called for a more detailed explanation as to why charges were dropped, with Burke’s lawyer, Andrew Hall QC, saying such an explanation was in the “interests of justice.”

Lawyer Richard Thomas said Newey’s father Paul was a “hard-working man vilified in this country and abroad as a terrorist,” and told the court he was “entitled to an explanation.”

Balbir Singh, lawyer for Newey’s brother Sam, said the family’s lives had been “turned upside down with the anxiety that they have had to suffer.”

Burke, a former paratrooper, had previously fought with the YPG in Syria in 2017 and 2018 against Daesh while the Royal Air Force was bombing the group and British special forces were deployed on the ground offering training to Kurdish forces.

The prosecution alleged that Burke had often shown a desire to return to Syria in order to fight for the YPG.

According to court hearings, when he was stopped in Dover in December Burke told arresting officers: “I’m not a terrorist; you know I am not a terrorist. I have done nothing but fight for this country.”

He was charged with assisting Newey to commit, prepare or instigate an act of terrorism last October, involvement in an arrangement with others to provide money and military equipment for an act of terrorism, and engagement in preparation to commit, prepare or instigate an act of terrorism between October 7 and December 7 last year.

Paul Newey was charged with funding terrorism by entering into an arrangement to provide money to his son in November, while Sam Newey was charged in February with one offence of giving assistance to his brother.

If the three men had been successfully convicted, it would have been the first time Britons had been found guilty of terror offences related to the Kurdish militia YPG, which was aided by UK forces in its fight against Daesh in the Syrian conflict.

Newey’s mother Vikki said that while she was relieved the cases against her family had been dropped, she felt the decision not to prosecute was a political one, according to the Guardian newspaper.

“I don’t think the government have had a change of heart and think, ‘Gosh, these Kurdish people, that’s awful for them.’ It’s either a political maneuver or there is something that the government doesn’t want to come out on public record,” she said.

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