Australia issues arrest warrant for doctor who joined ISIS

Australian doctor believed to be in Syria faces terror charges if he returns home

Photo by: You Tube
Photo by: You Tube

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Australia has issued an arrest warrant for Tareq Kamleh, a young Australian doctor who is believed to have joined ISIS group in Syria.

Kamleh travelled to Syria last March and appeared in a ISIS video calling on fellow doctors to join him a month later.

Australia has already banned travelling to some "declared areas," including the ISIS strongholds of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, so Dr. Kamleh could be arrested if he returns home.

Australian officials say Kamleh "is a member of terrorist organisation" but he said in the video that he came to Raqqa to help Syrians after "a very well-educated and calculated decision."

“I have come here as there are locals suffering from normal medical conditions despite being surrounded by war, with an overt lack of qualified medical care,” he said, distancing himself from the fighters and the conflict.

29-year-old Dr. Kamleh is accused for being a member of and recruiting for a terrorist organisation and another two terrorism charges. The charges carry maximum 45 years in prison, Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

Dr. Kamleh was born in Australia of a Palestinian father and German convert Muslim mother. He grew up in the Australian west coast city of Perth and went on to graduate from Adelaide University’s medical school in 2010.

He became a registered paediatric in Western Australia and previously worked in South Australia and the Northern Territory hospitals. He uses the name Abu Yousef al-Australie in videos he made in Raqqa.

Earlier in May, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) said that the Medical Board of Australia will take action concerning Dr. Kamleh's medical registration.

Dr. Kamleh, who could be jailed for 25 years upon his return, has since posted a letter of response to AHPRA on his Facebook page in which he vowed he will never return back to Australia, describing his medical work in Syria as ” jihad (struggle) for Islam,” accusing Australia of having more blood in its hands more than ISIS has.

"Interestingly the two drone strikes that have occurred since I have been here have not claimed the life of a single male, let alone a soldier ... good work 'Team Australia'! ... from what I've seen you have more blood on your hands than ISIS has on their knives,” Kamleh wrote.

"I never intend to return to Australia, I have finally returned home," he added.

Australia believes that around 100 of its nationals are fighting in Iraq and Syria and around 50 percent of them are dual-citizens.

TRTWorld and agencies