UK man accused of kidnapping in Syria in court

This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, taken on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, purports to show pillars of smoke as a result of shelling by Syrian government forces near al-Zafaran mosque in Homs, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)

This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, taken on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, purports to show pillars of smoke as a result of shelling by Syrian government forces near al-Zafaran mosque in Homs, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN)

LONDON (AP) — A British man charged with kidnapping two Western journalists in Syria made his first court appearance Wednesday without entering a plea.

Shajul Islam, a trainee doctor who was arrested last week on suspicion of terror offenses after arriving in London on a flight from Egypt, spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.

Islam is accused of working with others to abduct two photographers, Briton John Cantlie and his Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans, between July 17 and July 26 in Syria.

Oerlemans was shot twice during a failed attempt to escape from his captors. Cantlie, who had worked for the Sunday Times newspaper, has said that none of his captors were Syrians and that several spoke with a British accent.

Islam, from east London, is accused of being part of the jihadi group that kidnapped the journalists. He was kept in custody and is scheduled to have his next court hearing on Nov. 2.

He and a 26-year-old woman were arrested at London Heathrow airport on Oct. 9. The woman was released without facing charges Tuesday after seven days of questioning.

They were originally held on suspicion of traveling to Syria to support terror-related offenses, raising concerns about Britons voyaging to Syria to take part in the fighting there.

Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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