Friday 20 April 2018

Man gets bail on charge of training for war in Syria

Eamon Bradley
Eamon Bradley

Alan Erwin

A man accused of receiving weapons and explosives training in Syria is to be released on bail, a judge has ruled.

Eamon Bradley has spent more than three months in custody amid claims that he took part in battles against both Isil and President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

But Mr Justice Tom Burgess granted High Court bail in Belfast after defence lawyers described the 25-year-old as a "dreamer".

Mr Bradley, of Melmore Gardens in Derry, is to live with his grandmother and must not access the internet or mobile phones.

He was arrested last November amid reports that he had allegedly been fighting in the Syrian civil war.

Charges of receiving training in weapons and explosives, and possessing a grenade with intent to endanger life, were brought under the new extra territorial enabling legislation.

Pictures of him with heavy-calibre ammunition, apparently in a Middle Eastern country, were said to have been on his mother's phone.

Another image of him in combat gear had been transferred on to a wall-mounted canvas print.

But Mr Bradley, who said he converted to the Muslim faith six years ago, claimed he travelled to the region to help those being subjected to atrocities.

Previously the court heard how telephone calls during a three-month period from March to May appeared to have been to contacts with Arabic names.

But Mr Justice Burgess was then told any cell-site analysis to track Mr Bradley's movements in the region is impossible.

According to Joe Brolly, defending, an academic's suggestion that Jaysh al-Islam was aligned to Islamic State (Isil) went against "the analysis of the rest of the world".

The barrister also contended that British Prime Minister David Cameron is among those who have declared Isil must be destroyed.

Turning to his own client's situation, Mr Brolly said: "He's clearly not a danger to anyone. He appears to have been a dreamer, someone not particularly realistic."

No evidence has been produced to contradict Mr Bradley's explanation for why he went to the region, his counsel insisted. Granting bail, Mr Justice Burgess pointed out that the authorities have been given time to carry out their investigations.

Irish Independent

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