Australian nurse accused of assisting Islamic State is arrested at Sydney airport
SYDNEY – An Australian nurse accused of giving medical assistance to the Islamic State militant group fighting in Syria has been arrested and will appear in a Sydney court on Saturday, police said.
The man has been identified by government officials as Adam Brookman. A police statement said a 39-year-old Australian man had been arrested on arrival at Sydney airport on Friday (July 24) over “his alleged involvement in the conflict in Syria”.
A police spokeswoman confirmed the warrant related to Brookman, a father of five who has told Australian media he went to Syria on a humanitarian mission and had been forced to join the militant group after he had been wounded.
The police statement did not specify charges but said members of a Melbourne-based counter-terrorism team would seek to have him moved there.
“The man voluntarily surrendered himself to Turkish officials in Turkey on Tuesday, 21 July,” the police statement said. His travel back to Australia had been negotiated with Australian government and international agencies, it said.
Australia is on high alert for attacks by radicalised Muslims, including home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East. It has raised its threat level to “high” and launched a series of high-profile raids in major cities.
“Mr Brookman is obviously a person of interest to our law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop added.
“I won’t go to the detail of his specific case but most certainly there are significant criminal offences attached to being in Syria and Iraq and or supporting or advocating the Daesh (Islamic State) ideology,”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said at least 70 Australians were fighting in Iraq and Syria, backed by about 100 Australia-based “facilitators”.
Abbott has secured a raft of new security powers in recent years, expanding domestic spying capabilities and proposing to strip citizenship from dual nationals accused of committing violent militant acts. -Reuters