05:16 GMT11 August 2020
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    Kurdish solidarity activists warn that the UK government is using and abusing terrorism laws to criminalise acts of solidarity with groups even though they are not banned as terrorist organisations.

    The father and brother of Daniel Newey, a UK volunteer who traveled to Syria to fight against Daesh along with the Kurdish-led Peoples Protection Units (YPG), pled not guilty to terrorism offences relating to their support of him on Friday. 

    Paul Newey, 49, is charged with knowing or having “reasonable cause to suspect” that £150 he sent to his son Daniel while he was in transit in Spain on the way to re-join the YPG in Syria, “would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism” in violation of S17 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

    Samuel Newey, 19, is charged with violation of S 5(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2006, by assisting or intending to assist his brother Daniel Newey to “commit, prepare or instigate an act of terrorism, engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention”

    The case of Paul and Samuel will be joined with that of David Burke, another former YPG volunteer, who was charged with terrorism offences in December 2019, also in connection to support he allegedly provided to Daniel Newey to help him get to Syria.

    Around 15 supporters attended the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court including Nick Matheou of the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign.

    Matheou argued that the prosecutions are part of a broader set of actions by the British state to “use and abuse terrorism laws to criminalise a whole range of activities and put a whole range of activities beyond the politically acceptable”.

     

    “We’ve seen this from leaked PREVENT [counter-extremism] documents that list pretty much every left-of-Labour organisation, as well as a number of single issue campaigns such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and a number of environmentalist groups, and we are seeing more and more the use of Schedule 7 powers at borders to intimidate and to fish for information”, he explained.

    Ankara has designated the YPG a terrorist group because of its alleged links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey. The PKK has been part of a decades long armed conflict with the Turkish state, originally as part of a movement to create a separate Kurdish nation, but its demands have evolved in recent years to a call for greater autonomy for south-east Turkey, which has a large Kurdish population. The YPG is not banned in the UK and has been supported by the British in its war against Daesh in northeastern Syria.

    * Daesh is banned as a terrorist organisation in Russia, the UK, and many other countries.

    Related:

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    Turkey Expects US to Cut Cooperation With YPG in Syria - Defence Minister
    Turkey Seeks to Establish YPG-Free Safe Zone in Syria in Coordination With US - Ministry
    'Operation Peace Spring': Turkey Resumes Shelling YPG Positions in Tal Abyad, Syria
    Father of UK National Volunteering for YPG in Syria Charged With Terrorism - Reports
    Tags:
    self-determination, terrorism, Turkey, UK, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Syria
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