17 October 2012
On Tuesday British police charged a man for abducting two western journalists working in Syria. Photo journalists John Cantlie from Britain, and Jeroen Oerlemans from the Netherlands, were abducted in Syria between July 17 and 26. On his return to Britain Cantlie first told the media about so-called ‘jihadist’ Britons who fight against the Syrian government. Later on he said that one of his captors was a British doctor who was on sabbatical. At the time the incident sparked a debate about the involvement of the British ‘jihadists’ in the Syrian conflict.
British police detained the doctor, Shajul Islam, last week as he flew into Heathrow from Egypt “on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.” According to media reports Cantlie has been helping MI6 to identify the man.
Foreign Secretary William Hague, on BBC radio said:
“We would strongly advise them not to do so, and while I can’t comment at the moment in further detail on these cases, on the general subject, we are clearly very vigilant about this, about people either passing through the UK or British nationals who want to commit acts of violence anywhere.”
In another development British security services have identified 50 Britons who are fighting against the Syrian government. The ringleader of the groups is thought to be British/Bangladeshi.
According to the reports Scotland Yard have seized computers and mobile phones from addresses in Britain linked to the men.
Scotland Yard has not commented on the issue.