UK: Joe Robinson, a former British soldier who volunteered with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in 2015 to fight against Islamic State in Syria, was arrested in Turkey in 2017 while on holiday. Now, he has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison because the Turkish government views the YPG as a terrorist organization linked with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
A protest was held in London, UK outside the Turkish embassy against the sentencing of Joe Robinson, seen by many in UK as a hero fighting against tyranny. “Fighting against ISIS is not a crime. Free Joe Robinson!” read signs held by the protesters outside the Turkish embassy in London. “Today’s protest in support of Joe Robinson was a success, there is a growing movement to get him home,” tweeted Macer Gifford, an activist and anti-ISIS campaigner who also fought against ISIS in Syria. “He went to Syria as a medic. He wanted to help innocent people wounded by the brutal Islamic State,” Gifford said. “His prison sentence is a shock to us all. For a humanitarian that’s uninterested in the politics of the region, to spend the best part of his life in jail for fighting ISIS is a real miscarriage of justice.” He linked it to Turkey’s growing tensions with the West and said that the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign would continue to lobby to bring Robinson home.