Australian nurse arrested after returning from Syria

Adam Brookman accused of assisting militants, faces terror related charges

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

An Australian nurse who claims that he was forced to give medical assistance to the fighters of ISIS militant group fighting in Syria has been arrested after returning home on Saturday.

Adam Brookman, 39, faces terror-related charges as he appeared in a Sydney court on Saturday and is accused of alleged involvement in the conflict in Syria.

Australian officials said he "voluntarily surrendered himself to officials in Turkey on Tuesday, July 21," and negotiated with the Australian government and international agencies before returning home, Reuters reported.

Brookman, a Muslim convert and father of five, is the first Australian to return home from Syria following accusations of aiding militants.

He told local media that he initially had gone to Syria for humanitarian work but was forced to work as a medic by the ISIS militants after he was wounded.

"After I recovered, they wouldn't let me leave," he told Fairfax, adding that he opposed the extreme actions of the militants and escaped to Turkey in December. Australians who make a presence in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa face charges for a crimes punishable by 10 years in prison ever since new legislation passed on December 4, but it is not clear if Brookman was present in Raqqa following the passing of the legislature.

He will be tried in his hometown of Melbourne on two charges, each of which may result in up to 25 years in prison, Associated Press reported.

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

A new legislation will provide the country’s immigration minister with the authority to strip Australian citizenship from dual-passport holders, even if they are not convicted of an offence.

Australia is also planning to put the children of militants fighting overseas into custody. In response, experts have said that children should not be punished for their parents' actions.

The new regulations were brought to the table after local media outlets reported claims that the wife and children of an Australian citizen, Khaled Sharrouf, who fought with the ISIS, are trying to return to Australia.

TRTWorld and agencies