Army reject, 28, who was first Briton to be convicted for going to Syria to fight AGAINST ISIS is jailed for four years – even though he was on the same side as the RAF
- Aidan James, from Merseyside, went to Iraq to fight against ISIS in 2017
- Upon his return, prosecutors brought a landmark case against him
- He was convicted of one charge, cleared of another and jailed for four years
Aidan James has been jailed for training with a banned organisation when he went to the Middle East to fight against ISIS
A British Army reject who went to fight against ISIS has been jailed for four years.
Following a landmark trial, Aidan James, 28, was found guilty of training in weapons with the banned Marxist political organisation the PKK in Iraq.
But he was cleared of a second charge of attending a place of terror training with Kurdish YPG units, or ‘People’s Protection Units’, across the border in Syria.
James, of Formby, Merseyside, had been repeatedly turned down by British armed forces due to his mental health and had no previous military knowledge when he set out to join the war in 2017.
It is the first time a Briton has been put on trial for going to Syria to oppose ISIS, after charges were dropped against ex-soldier James Matthews, 43, from Dalston, east London.
The court had heard how James was in contact with the anti-terror Prevent programme before he left Britain for Iraq in August 2017.
While there, he wrote in his diary that sitting on a roof with a 50 calibre machine gun was like something out of ‘Mad Max’.
James posted a picture on Facebook in August 2017 showing himself holding a beer before he flew off to the Middle East
He was cleared of a charge relating to the Kurdish YPG in Syria, but convicted of training in with the banned Marxist political organisation the PKK in Iraq
By December, he wrote that the situation with Turkey was worsening, saying: ‘Daesh is the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler so anything I can do in these operations is good.’
Later, as he prepared to come home, James wrote in his diary of his ‘amazing time’.
He wrote: ‘Lost good friends, met great ones, fought on front line numerous times, killed Daesh soldiers, been shot at many times by Isis and our own guys.
‘Drove humvys (sic), sat on roof as drove through desert, attacked by suicide vehicles many times, mortar fire, sniper RPG, drones, chilled with donkey.’
The court heard he finally returned to Liverpool John Lennon airport on February 14 last year on flights via Baghdad, Amman and Amsterdam.
James declined to give evidence but denied training with PKK terrorists in Mahkmour, Iraq on or before October 1 2017 and attending another place for training in Syria with YPG units on or before November 4 2017.
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