Danish man Tommy Mørck, who fought Daesh* in the Middle East, has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment for violating a law that bans visiting conflict zones without the authorities' permission, Danish Radio reported. Mørck found the verdict "absurd" and pledged to lodge an appeal.
Between November 2016 and March 2017, Mørck was established to have traveled up to 25 times to the Syrian province of Raqqa to assist in the fight against Daesh alongside the Kurdish militia YPG. Attorney General Jacob Balsgaard Nielsen argued that the YPG's fight against Daesh didn't constitute a mitigating circumstance.
Mørck, 39, denied having done anything wrong. Despite finding the judgment "unsurprising," the Aarhus native also described going to prison over risking his life in the fight against terrorism as "absurd" and pledged to appeal. At the same time, he said he was happy to receive such a severe punishment.
"Had I received a minor penalty, such as a month's imprisonment, few people would actually be interested in following the case," Mørck said.
The law that got Mørck put behind bars was introduced in 2016 in order to give Danish authorities the opportunity to prosecute Danes leaving the country to the conflict zone in Syria to fight for the jihadi cause. Moving into or residing in a conflict area without obtaining permission from the authorities, yields a maximum penalty of six years.
So far, however, Tommy Mørck has been the only person convicted under the law. Mørck called the law "absurd," questioning its efficacy.
"A liberal country like Denmark shouldn't tell its citizens where they must be abroad," Mørck said, explaining his stance.
Mørck's lawyer argued that the Danish law imposes a disproportionate influence over the right to free movement of citizens, which is guaranteed by the European Court of Human Rights and in a UN Convention.
In recent years, Denmark has contributed to the jihadist cause with around 150 "foreign fighters." Copenhagen has previously made it clear that they are not welcome back to Denmark and have even tried to revoke their citizenship.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia