A former RAF serviceman who converted to Islam has been arrested on charges relating to terrorism, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed.
Stephen Gray, 31, was arrested in the Old Trafford area of the city on suspicion of ‘commission, preparation or instigating acts of terrorism’.
The former senior air craftsman served with 2 Squadron, RAF regiment and was stationed at Baghdad airport in 2004 following the American led invasion of Iraq.
He told the Telegraph he had become “disillusioned” with Britain’s conduct in the conflict and left the Armed Forces in 2004. He claims to have seen British and American forces abuse Iraqi prisoners at the airport, which was used as a base by allied special forces hunting insurgents and the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
The MoD declined to comment on him or his accusations.
Gray, who now also goes by the name Mustafa, denies the charges which are relating to overseas terrorism rather than anything in the UK. Mr Gray confirmed he had been arrested from his home at 7.30am.
He has previously had his passport confiscated after officials said he was “involved in Islamist extremist activity” and warned he was “likely to travel overseas in the future in order to engage in terrorism related activity”.
The Veteran say says he has travelled widely as a tourist in the Middle East and that his passport was seized when he returned to Manchester Airport after returning from a trip to Bulgaria. The £1000 he was carrying was also confiscated.
He claimed he was travelling to make a portfolio of internet videos on how difficult it is to travel as a Muslim and how often he was stopped at international borders.
At the time he told police he was not involved in any terrorism activities and was being persecuted because of his religion.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said Mr Gray had been arrested following an investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.
Along with the 31 year old, a 50 year old and 21 year old were also arrested also on the suspicion of terrorism charges and their properties searched for evidence.
All three remain in police custody, a spokesman confirmed.
“The investigation centres on activity overseas and there is no risk to any communities in Manchester,” he added, to reassure locals.