Turkish Court Convicts Leeds Ex-Soldier of Terrorism Offenses

Joe Robinson, 25, was arrested and charged with terrorism offenses while on holiday in Turkey last year. He was accused of being a member of the YPG, a Kurdish armed group classed as a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government.

Robinson, from Leeds, previously served in Afghanistan under the British Armed Forces. He denied the charges against him in November 2017, saying that he had been working in Syria as a medic.

The People’s Protection Units of Syrian Kurdistan (YPG) is a predominantly Kurdish militia in Syria, fighting against ISIS and other Syrian rebel groups. Turkey has previously criticized the YPG for its alleged support of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, an organisation fighting for an independent Kurdish state in Turkey. UK law doesn’t currently class the YPG as a banned group.

Robinson was arrested alongside his mother and fiancée in 2017. The women were later released. His fiancée, Mira Rojkan, a Law student at the University of Leeds, had been given a suspended sentence for “terrorism propaganda”, according to Robinson’s mother Sharon Chimejczuk. Rojkan said that she had been sentenced for sharing ‘Pro-Kurdish’ material on social media.

Robinson was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail, but remains on bail. He plans to appeal his conviction.

Megan Cummings

Image: [@joerobinson3214, Twitter]