Turkey jails Bri­ton who helped f ight ISIS in Iraq

The Mail on Sunday - - Femail - By Mark Ni­col

A FOR­MER Bri­tish Army sol­dier who fought against Is­lamic State in Syria has been sen­tenced to nearly eight years in jail in Turkey.

Joe Robin­son, 25, was ar­rested while on hol­i­day in Turkey last year and ac­cused by au­thor­i­ties of be­long­ing to a Kur­dish terrorist group.

Robin­son in­sists he only fought with the Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units of Syr­ian Kur­dis­tan (YPG) against ISIS and that he was never in­volved in any Kur­dish terrorist groups which have launched at­tacks in Turkey.

Robin­son is un­der­stood to have fought against ISIS in 2015, hav­ing joined the in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary ef­fort against the jihadis af­ter an ISIS fighter murdered 39 Bri­tish tourists at a Tu­nisian re­sort ear­lier that year.

The ex-squad­die, orig­i­nally from Ac­cring­ton, Lan­cashire, pre­vi­ously fought the Tal­iban in Afghanistan in 2012 with his lo­cal unit, the Duke of Lan­caster’s Reg­i­ment.

Last night, his hor­ri­fied mother Sharon Robin­son said she would do what­ever it took to get her son home. She wants UK politi­cians to per­suade the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment to let him serve a prison sen­tence in Bri­tain rather than Turkey.

She said: ‘I am un­der the im­pres­sion that the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment can ask for him to be ex­tra­dited back to the UK. That would be a mas­sive re­lief, es­pe­cially as he has com­mit­ted no crime un­der UK law.’

While the UK does not con­sider the YPG to be a terrorist or­gan­i­sa­tion, Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties are con­vinced the group is closely linked to more rad­i­cal Kur­dish groups such as the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers’ Party. Court pa­pers from Fri­day’s hear­ing in­di­cate that Robin­son was sen­tenced for be­ing a mem­ber of the PKK, a claim he and his fam­ily stren­u­ously deny.

Robin­son was orig­i­nally ar­rested along­side his fi­ancee Mira Ro­jkan, a Bul­gar­ian cit­i­zen who had been liv­ing in Leeds. She was ac­cused of en­gag­ing in terrorist pro­pa­ganda but was given a sus­pended sen­tence and al­lowed to leave Turkey.

Last night, she crit­i­cised the UK Gov­ern­ment’s role in the case. She told the BBC: ‘Un­for­tu­nately for Joe, there was very lit­tle help from the For­eign Of­fice. They didn’t send any rep­re­sen­ta­tives and didn’t help nearly as much as the Bul­gar­ian for­eign min­istry. His sen­tence is not jus­ti­fi­able and is based on a po­lit­i­cal agenda.

‘He was shocked by the news. He’s bro­ken, he’s tired and he just wishes to come home as soon as pos­si­ble.’

‘BRO­KEN’: Jailed fighter Joe Robin­son pic­tured in Kur­dish YPG uni­form in 2015

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