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British man who fought against IS guilty of terrorism charge

British man who fought against IS guilty of terrorism charge

Aidan James, 28, of Formby, Merseyside denied terrorism offences
A British man who fought with a Kurdish militia against the Islamic State group has been convicted of a terror offence.Aidan James, 28, of Formby, Merseyside, had no previous military knowledge when he set out for Syria in 2017.He denied terror offences but was found guilty at a retrial at the Old Bailey of attending a place where terrorist training was given, at a camp in Iraq where the banned PKK group was present.James was cleared of attending a terrorist training camp in Syria.Jurors reached unanimous verdicts after just over a day of deliberations.
'Make a difference'
Mr Justice Edis said the jury's verdicts made it "plain" that the defendant's conduct was "not intended to promote any acts of terrorism by him".He told the defendant that "I regard this as a highly unusual terrorist case".He said James' involvement with the PKK was "quite fleeting", adding "it was something that happened on his voyage, but the ultimate destination was elsewhere".Mr James, an unsuccessful applicant to the British Army, grew up on Merseyside and is the first Briton who fought against IS to stand trial for such offences.He kept a diary prior to and during his time in the Middle East which recorded his thoughts and experiences, the Old Bailey heard.In April 2017 he wrote: "At least over there I can make a difference, I can do something to be proud of instead of constantly feeling worthless".After revealing his plans online he received a visit from the government de-radicalisation scheme Prevent and a warning against travelling to Syria.James will be sentenced on 7 November.
Iraq
Syria
Formby
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