Australian nurse Adam Brookman.
An Australian nurse who says he was forced by Islamic State (Isis)
militants to work as a medic in Syria was arrested after returning home
and faces terrorism-related charges of supporting the movement.
Brookman, 39, was arrested at Sydney International Airport on Friday
night on a Victoria state warrant relating to his alleged involvement in
the conflict in Syria, Australian Federal Police said yesterday.
is the first Australian involved with Isis known to have returned home
since the Sunni fighters swept into western Iraq in June last year and
declared the establishment of a caliphate, Monash University terrorism
expert Greg Barton said.
“He’s certainly the first Australian to
come back from Isis-controlled territory having lived and worked among
Isis,” Barton said. “Culpability is the nub of the issue here.”
Dozens of Australians who are suspected of fighting with militias in the Middle East have previously returned home.
But none has been charged because of a lack of proof.
appeared from a police cell by video link in the Parramatta Bail Court
yesterday, where a magistrate granted an application by the Melbourne
Joint Counter Terrorism Team to extradite him to his hometown of
Melbourne in Victoria.
He is to appear in a Melbourne court no
later than tomorrow morning on two charges that each carries a maximum
of 25 years in prison.
Court documents show both charges allege
that Brookman knowingly provided support to Isis by undertaking guard
duty and reconnaissance for the militants. That support would allegedly
help the group “prepare or foster” a terrorist act.
Brookman did not speak during his brief appearance.
He surrendered to Turkish officials in Turkey on Tuesday and voluntarily flew back to Australia with a police escort.
a Muslim convert and father of five children who live in Melbourne,
told Fairfax Media in May that he went to Syria last year to do
humanitarian work for civilians caught in the war.
He said he was
innocent of any crime and was forced to join Isis militants after being
injured in an airstrike and taken to a hospital controlled by the group
at al-Bab in Aleppo province.
“After I recovered, they wouldn’t let me leave,” he told Fairfax.
He won the militants’ trust by working as a medic and was able to escape to Turkey in December, he said.
told Fairfax that he opposed the violent and extreme actions of the
militants, including the beheading of their captives.
“Of course there will be an investigation. That is fine. Hopefully things don’t look that bad,” Brookman told Fairfax.