London: A 21-year-old British Muslim convert dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’ has been charged with being a member of the ISIS terrorist network, media reports said today.
Jack Letts had travelled to Syria in 2014 and was later captured by the Kurdish-led YPG – the group fighting against ISIS – when he fled Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the terror network earlier this year.
The man from the city of Oxford has claimed in the past that he is opposed to ISIS ideology.
Quoting a statement issued by the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS) – a self-declared autonomous region, the BBC said Letts had been taken to a prison in Qamishli, Rojava, northern Syria.
“Jack Letts is currently under investigation by local and global anti-terror units. Once the investigation is concluded, the outcome will be communicated to Jack’s parents, and their legal representatives and to the officials of relevant governments,” the statement said.
Jack Letts, who also holds a Canadian passport, remains in the custody of the local DFNS police force, the Asayish.
The statement adds: “We ask the parents of Jack Letts and their legal representative to ask the UK and Canadian governments to officially request the handover of Jack Letts from the officials of the DFNS so that the handover can proceed officially.
“However, so far there has been no official request from neither Canadian or British governments.”
The communication marks the first time that Kurdish forces have confirmed the capture of Letts as a prisoner of war.
Letts had converted to Islam while at Cherwell comprehensive school in Oxford and travelled to Jordan, aged 18, after dropping out of school.
He reportedly got married in Iraq and now has a child.
His parents, John Letts and Sally Lane, have denied he went to Syria to fight with ISIS, and have started a petition that claims he had “disappeared in a Guantanamo-style black site” in Kurdish-controlled territory.
But Sinam Mohamad, the European representative of DFNS, denied the allegation.
“We refute all these baseless allegations,” she told BBC.
Letts’ parents also went on a week-long “hunger-strike” in protest recently, claiming that the British government had not done enough to help their son.
His mother claims her son has been in contact to say that him and a group of his friends were working against ISIS from the inside.
“In fact I’ve spoken to some of his friends and they are still in hiding. They say things were made very, very difficult for them when Jack was labelled a terrorist by the British Government because it then compromised their position,” she said.
The couple have previously themselves pleaded not guilty to charges of funding terrorism after being accused of sending money to Jack.
“The government is unable to provide support to British nationals in Syria as the UK government does not have consular representation there,” the UK Foreign Office said.