Man in court for fight­ing Isis ‘with UK al­lies’

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Sarah Marsh

A for­mer Bri­tish sol­dier was in court yes­ter­day fac­ing an un­prece­dented prose­cu­tion un­der ter­ror­ism leg­is­la­tion for fight­ing against Isis in Syria.

James Matthews, 43, is thought to be the first per­son pros­e­cuted un­der such leg­is­la­tion for as­sist­ing a group helped by the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment.

Matthews, who joined Kur­dish forces to fight against Isis, was cheered by a crowd out­side West­min­ster mag­is­trates court as he ar­rived for a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing. He has been charged with one count of at­tend­ing a place used for ter­ror­ist train­ing un­der the Ter­ror­ism Act 2006.

The of­fences re­late to his time fight­ing with the Kur­dish YPG. He pre­vi­ously ap­peared in a Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­tary called The Brits Bat­tling Isis about his de­ci­sion to join the bat­tle against the ji­hadist group.

At the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing, Matthews was granted con­di­tional bail un­til his first hear­ing on 1 March. His lawyer, Joel Ben­nathan QC, said

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