James Matthews is accused of “attending places in Iraq and Syria” for training in terrorism.

It is the first time that antiterror laws have been used to prosecute someone for allegedly aiding a group being assisted by the British Government.

Matthews was cheered and clapped by supporters as he arrived at Westminster magistrates’ court in central London.

Others packed the public gallery for the preliminary hearing. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: “This is a very unusual case and the first that this court has had in front of it among numerous alleged terrorism cases.”

Matthews, 43, of Dalston, east London, did not enter a plea and was bailed to appear at the Old Bailey next month. One supporter said: “I am very surprised to hear the British Government is allowing families of known IS fighters back into the UK and not prosecuting them, but then put someone like James on trial.”

Matthews returned to Britain last week to attend the funeral of Jac Holmes, a British volunteer who fought with the Kurds and was killed in Raqqa, Syria, last October.

Daily Express

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