The Australian government has cancelled the passport of a teen who traveled to Syria, according to his lawyer. Oliver Bridgeman left Australia in March 2015, reportedly telling his family that he was embarking on a trip to Bali to work for a charity. It was revealed in April that he had traveled to war-torn Syria in order to work for an aid group called Live Updates From Syria.
The Australian Federal Police did not believe his story entirely, accusing him of aligning himself with a “proscribed group,” with some speculating that could mean al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate.
In August, Bridgeman denied the allegations to The Guardian, saying, “Islam teaches us to help the needy, so this is my Islamic obligation.”
Alex Jones, Bridgeman’s lawyer, has expressed shock at the government’s decision. He told ABC that the 19-year-old had been told to surrender his passport to a consular post in Turkey.
“As far as we’re aware, there’s no allegation that he’s done anything untoward or anything illegal whatsoever and that the basis for these types of decisions are usually on the basis of security risks,” Jones said.
“However, without any allegation that he’s done anything untoward, we simply can’t understand this decision.”
In response to the action taken against him, Bridgeman reportedly said, “no matter what the Australian government say or do, they know that I’m here to help humanity and especially the people of Syria.”
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