The Australian government has left an Aussie teen stranded in Syria after the cancellation of his passport as an imposition of punishment on him.
The stranded teen’s lawyer, Alex Jones, has made an appeal to Canberra’s decision of cancelling 19-year-old Oliver Bridgeman’s passport. He said that his client would not be able to return to Australia until he gets back his document. In case he travelled with a cancelled document, he will be liable to face imprisonment of up to 10 years. “For him to leave Syria, he must commit a crime and that’s his only way of getting out,” Jones told CNN. “They’re effectively forcing him to commit a crime (in order to come home). He’s been offered no immunity or indemnity for that.”
The Aussie government seems to have boycotted Bridgeman, his family, and lawyer following the issuance of an arrest warrant by Australian Federal Police at his parents’ home. The Aussie teen denied claims of being involved in political violence in Syria in any manner. The assumption of his participation in political violence led the government to issue an arrest warrant against him.
The government accused him of converting to the Muslim religion and participating in hostile activities. Bridgeman defended himself by saying that he had been involved in doing humanitarian work in Syria for almost a year. Yahoo News reported that the teen, in an interview with a Sydney-based Muslim community channel, said that the reason of AFP behind cancelling his passport was “absolutely ridiculous.”
“Basically, they were talking about my aid work here. [The claims] included that they thought I was going to participate in political violence, which is obviously not true,” he said.
Bridgeman said that it was quite “surprising” to see that no one from the government tried to contact him to clarify things. They have created problems rather than solving the matter, which is “truly bizarre.”