An Australian anti-Islamic State fighter was deported by Germany last night after he was detained on return from the Middle East. His family in Australia now fears Ashley Dyball (pictured) will face arrest and prosecution when he sets foot on home soil.
It is understood Mr. Dyball, 23, was held by German authorities on the basis of his links to a Kurdish militia group fighting against IS in northern Syria, The Local reports.
Mr. Dyball — also known as Mitchell Scott — will touch down in Melbourne at 10:00pm Sunday night, where it is expected he will be greeted by Australian Federal Police officers.
The Queenslander has been fighting against IS forces in northern Syria with a Kurdish militia called the YPG. He risks prosecution under Australian foreign fighter laws which forbid entering a foreign country with the intention of taking up arms.
Mr. Dyball’s father Scott told ABC News in Australia of his fears for his son’s future and appealed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull not to proceed with prosecution against his son.
“This is wrong, what the Government is trying to do to him is wrong,” Mr. Dyball said. “The charges are just so ridiculous, they should be dropped.
“The law was unclear at the time, if they were clear the boys would not have gone. All we are asking is just an amnesty.”
Julia Dyball is also concerned for her son, a former Australian weightlifting champion, and his future.
“It is difficult and we are happy as well — happy we can go and tell him it is all OK — we are all here for him,” Mrs. Dyball said. We have no idea what is going to happen. We are going down to Melbourne because we know he is coming in at a certain time, and we will wait and see.”
His lawyer Jessie Smith said Mr. Dyball could claim the defence that he was engaged in the armed services of a foreign government. “Mr. Dyball could claim this defence due to Kurdish autonomy in Syria,” she said.
She also said there was a public interest argument against prosecuting citizens fighting terrorists. However, if charged under Australia’s tough foreign fighter laws Mr. Dyball faces up to 25 years in prison.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton warned earlier this year that Mr. Dyball would face prosecution upon his return to Australia, according to the Daily Mail.
“The reality is … they either die on the battlefield or come back to face jail,’ Mr. Dutton said in June.
“We have trained Australian soldiers who are aiding the fight against ISIS and potentially their lives are put at risk if mercenaries – however well intentioned – are running around in the same theatre of conflict.”
Mr. Dyball is not the first Australian to travel to Syria to work against the Islamic State terrorist group.
Reece Harding, 23, died in June in Syria after stepping on a landmine while fighting the militant group alongside Kurds.