British IS suspect Stefan Aristidou to stand trial in Turkey

Bethany Minelle and Sunita Patel-Carstairs, News Reporters

A British IS suspect arrested in Turkey has been charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation.

Turkish officials say Stefan Aristidou will stand trial in the country and he could face up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted.

His British wife Kolsoma Begum, 22, and their child are being detained at a repatriation centre as they await deportation to the UK.

The family had arrived at the Oncupinar Turkish-Syrian border crossing on 20 April - and four days after they attempted to enter the southeastern Turkish city of Kilis, Aristidou was arrested on suspicion of terror offences.

Aristidou has been missing from his home in Enfield since fleeing to Cyprus in April 2015.

Last month, while on the run and from Mosul in northern Iraq and hiding in Syria, the 23-year-old spoke to Sky's Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay, where he described life under IS rule as like being "in prison".

He told Ramsay: "At the end of the day, I am just trying to get my life back".

Throughout the conversation, Aristidou insisted he joined IS to live under Sharia and not to fight, and denied he was a fighter on the run because he knew the game was up.

In the hour-long interview, he said that if any member told the IS leadership they did not want to fight they were punished - sent to the "camp of repentance" for reconditioning and then sent back to the front.

"In the camp they are kept in harsh conditions. They are taken through Islamic training then they are taught why they need to fight," he told Ramsay.

"It's kind of like, 'We can do what we want with you' - and you are in no position to say no. It's not a test, there is no escape, it's a prison."

He told Sky News that when he went to Syria in 2015 he knew nothing of the murderous regime run by IS.

He said he wanted to look after his family, but accepted that he would never have a normal life again and would probably have to go to prison.

Aristidou could face further prosecution under terror legislation if he returns to the UK.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in contact with the Turkish authorities following the detention of a British man on the Turkey/Syria border."

According to government figures released in November, approximately 800 individuals "of national security concern" have travelled to take part in the Syria conflict since it began.

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