Australian arrested after acting as ISIL medic in Syria

Nurse appears in court after handing himself in to authorities in Turkey and voluntarily returning to Sydney.

    Australia has made being in al-Raqqa a crime punishable by 10 years in prison [Supplied]
    Australia has made being in al-Raqqa a crime punishable by 10 years in prison [Supplied]

    An Australian nurse who worked as a medic for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has been arrested and is expected to face terrorism-related offences after returning to Sydney.

    Adam Brookman, 39, voluntarily returned to Australia with a police escort on Friday night on a flight from Turkey, where he had surrendered to authorities after reportedly fleeing from Syria in December.

    "A 39-year-old Australian national was arrested upon arrival at Sydney International Airport last night on an interstate arrest warrant, relating to his alleged involvement in the conflict in Syria," the Australian Federal Police said in a statement on Saturday.

    Al Jazeera explains: One Minute ISIL

    He appeared from a police cell by video link in the Parramatta Bail Court in Sydney on Saturday, where a magistrate granted an application by the Melbourne Joint Counter Terrorism Team to extradite him to Victoria. 

    The court heard a warrant for Brookman's arrest was issued on Friday. Police did not detail the charges he could face.

    In an interview with Australia's Fairfax Media in May, Brookman said he first travelled to Syria to perform humanitarian work, but had been forced to join ISIL when he was injured in an air strike and treated at a hospital controlled by the armed group, north of Aleppo.

    Brookman said he had been hiding in Turkey after fleeing from Syria last December.

    "I don't agree with what they do at all," he told Fairfax.

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    "I don't agree with their kidnapping, with their dealings with other Muslim groups, and especially after they started executing journalists and other innocent civilians."

    "I never went there to fight, I went there as a nurse. I support the struggle of the Syrian people."

    It is not clear whether Brookman was still in Syria on December 4, 2014, when Australia made being in al-Raqqa a crime punishable by 10 years in prison.

    If charged, the onus would be on Brookman to prove he had a legitimate reason to be in the region.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And AP


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