Freedom fighter who battled ISIS won't face charges
7:30am Thu Oct 20, 2016
Aiden Aslin
Aiden Aslin
A freedom fighter has spoken of his relief after learning he won’t face terrorism charges for battling ISIS on the front line in Syria and Iraq.
Aiden Aslin, speaking exclusively to the Advertiser, said for nine months he had “been made to feel like a terrorist.”

The 22-year-old said he felt so harshly treated he may move abroad but, in the week when the battle started to retake Iraq’s second city, Mosul, from ISIS, he had no wish to return to fight in Syria or Iraq.

“I can finally carry on with my life,” he said.

“Hopefully now I can return to work and achieve some of my ambitions after months of my life being on hold.”

Aiden was arrested on his return to the UK in February and had been on bail since then.

Nottinghamshire Police Special Branch officers went to his Newark home on Monday and told him his bail was cancelled.

Aiden insists that while he was serving alongside Kurdish forces he did nothing illegal or that contravened the Geneva Convention.

There is no national policy and the Home Office leaves it to individual police forces to decide what to do with UK citizens who return having fought ISIS, also known as Daesh.

Some, like Nottinghamshire, have arrested people on their return, while others allow them to return to society without restriction.

No one has been prosecuted in the UK for fighting against ISIS.

"I feel vindicated."

Aiden said: “There needs to be a coherent national policy so that people know what they are coming back to.

“No fighter should have to go through what I went through if it can be avoided.

“I feel vindicated.

“I have had nine months of being made to feel like a terrorist.

“I should never have been arrested. I should never have spent any time on bail.

“I should have been interviewed for any intelligence I might hold on ISIS and allowed to go free.

“Because I was arrested and interviewed under caution my legal advice was to give ‘no comment’ and any intelligence I held is now useless nine months later.”

Aiden said he had no issue with his case officer at Nottinghamshire Police, who was only doing his job, but did with those who took so long to decide what should happen to him.

“If they wanted to charge me and make an example of me, they should have just done it,” he said.

Nottinghamshire Police said in a statement: “A man arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences has had his conditional bail cancelled.

“The 22-year-old was arrested in February following claims he had allegedly trained in the use of weapons in Iraq/Syria and was engaged in the preparation to fight against Daesh.

“The investigation has reached a point whereby the threshold to charge with either terrorism offence (for which he was arrested for) has not yet been reached.

“However, the case will be kept under review in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service.”

A spokesman said the Home Office would dissuade any individual from travelling to Syria, and it was for the police to interpret the law and investigate if an individual had committed an offence. The Home Office could not interfere with that.

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