The father of Briton who went to north-eastern Syria to fight Daesh alongside the YPG is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court tomorrow, Friday 14th February, charged under the Terrorist Act 2000 AKA sending £150 to his son in Syria. It is the first case of this kind in the UK.
Paul Newey’s son, Dan, left for Syria in 2017 and joined the YPG: a group not listed as a proscribed organisation, and UK’s ally in the fight against Islamic State. Newey was arrested in early December 2019 following a police raid on his flat and seizure of laptops and mobile phones. After his arrest, Newey and his other son, 18 year old Sam, were subjected to a 13 hour long questioning. Dan’s mother, Vikki, was also visited by the cops and told that she will get arrested if she will not attend a “voluntary” interview. Subsequently, she was interviewed for about 12 hours before being released.
Commenting on the Newey family ordeal, spokesperson for the Kurdistan Solidarity Network said:
“The YPG is not a terrorist organisation and those fighting or supporting it should not be labelled as terrorists. Charging Paul Newey is an act of intimidation designed to scare people in Rojava and deter people from travelling because of fear their families will be targeted. Alongside the increasing criminalisation of the Kurdish freedom movement and current proposals for even more draconian terrorism powers, this is extremely chilling. This is a totally inappropriate and unlawful use of this legislation and we stand in solidarity with Dan and his family.”
Supporters of Paul Newey will gather outside the Westminster Magistrates’ Court from 9:30am tomorrow to hold a “stop abusing terrorism powers rally”. The call for the rally states:
“This is the UK government acting on Turkey’s instructions, imprisoning its own citizens under the pretence of counter terrorism. The real reason behind these actions is a need to cosy up to Turkey’s fascist leadership in order to smooth over trade negotiations.
Counter terrorism legislation gives police almost unlimited possibilities to abuse their power. Every single person who joins the fight against ISIS and other Islamist militants backed by the Turkish state faces”
In a video released in support of his father, Dan Newey thanked those expressing solidarity with his persecuted family and said:
“We can’t let the British government misuse acts to spread intimidation, to threaten our families. If they’re successful in this instance, it can be something that just keeps happening again and again. There are still British soldiers here as part of the international coalition and they’ve got absolutely no grounds to even suggest this is terrorism.”
Photo credit: Alexis Daloumis