Ex-British soldier secretly returns his country after Turkey convicted him - BBC

A former British soldier who travelled to Syria to join Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) has secretly returned to his country after a Turkish court jailed him for terrorism offences, BBC said on Friday.

Last year, Turkish police arrested Joe Robinson, a former British soldier, while he was on holiday in Turkey. A Turkish court in September convicted him to a seven-and-a-half-year sentence over membership of terrorist organisation.

But as he was appealing his sentence, he was released on bail and has now fled back home to Britain, according to the BBC.

In 2015, Robinson spent time with Kurdish armed groups in Syria, including the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey regards as a terrorist group.

“In Syria, I managed to help civilians, and save lives,” Robinson told the BBC. “That I believe, is no act of terrorism.”

Robinson also said he was “mentally, physically and emotionally drained” and had been kept in solitary confinement for the first three months of his arrest.

The former soldier said he was not given permission by the Turkish authorities to leave, but decided to go because he could not accept the sentence and terrorism charges since he was not a criminal.