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A FATHER charged with funding terrorism for sending £150 to a son who is fighting jihadists in Syria pleaded not guilty today at Westminster magistrates’ court.
Paul Newey was arrested at his home in Solihull in December, along with his youngest son, Sam, under the Terrorism Act.
The pair were charged in relation to Mr Newey’s elder son Dan, who travelled to north-eastern Syria in 2017 to join the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish-led force spearheading the Western-backed campaign against the Isis death cult.
At a brief hearing today, Mr Newey entered a not-guilty plea to one count of funding terrorism based on the £150 he sent his son via Paypal last November.
Sam Newey is accused of assisting his older brother to prepare acts of terrorism.
Campaigners rallied outside the central London court to show solidarity with the pair and condemn the British government for “misusing the Terrorism Act.”
Members of the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign (KSC) allege that the government is targeting YPG volunteers and their families at the behest of Turkey’s authoritarian government.
KSC activist Mark Campbell told the Morning Star: “The UK government is clearly attempting to help Isis-supporting Turkish dictator Erdogan ‘criminalise’ the Kurdish resistance against Isis in northern Syria in return for arms contacts and business deals.”
Mr Campbell described the case, the first involving charges against family members of British YPG volunteers, as a “threat for our democracy.”
Although the YPG is not a proscribed organisation under terrorism legislation, several British volunteers have been charged in relation to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is classed internationally as a terrorist group.
Speaking from north-eastern Syria ahead of the trial, Mr Newey’s son expressed concerns that the charges against his family could set a dangerous precedent.
He said in a video: “We can’t let the British government misuse Acts to spread intimidation, to threaten our families. If they’re successful in this instance, it can be something that just keeps happening again and again.
“There are still British soldiers here as part of the international coalition and they’ve got absolutely no grounds to even suggest this is terrorism.”
Paul and Sam Newey will appear at the Old Bailey in London at 9.30am on February 21 for a pretrial hearing. The trial is due to take place in Birmingham in June.
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