Anti-Islamic State fighter Ashley Dyball’s family prepare for his return, plead with Government for amnesty

Mitchell Scott and fallen hero Reece Harding

The family of Australian anti-Islamic State fighter Ashley Dyball are flying to Melbourne to welcome him home this evening, where he will face the threat of prosecution for his activities in the Middle East.

His father, Scott Dyball — who felt hopeful that his son’s arrest in Germany would bring him home — appealed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull not to proceed with prosecution.

“This is wrong, what the Government is trying to do to him is wrong,” Mr Dyball said.

FB_IMG_1449403187581
“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’s 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,” Ms 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.”

Mother of fellow Australian YPG fighter supporting Dyball family
Gold Coast man Reece Harding, 23, was killed in June fighting for the Kurdish forces in Syria, when he stepped on a landmine.

His father Keith Harding said it was of some comfort to see Ashley Dyball return home.

“That was always our fear — that Ashley would come back like Reece — so it is a relief that he is home in one piece, that is for sure,” Mr Harding said.

Michelle Harding, Reece’s mother, has formed a bond with the Dyballs and recently travelled to Syria to help them try to bring their son home alive.

“I don’t want anyone else to be in our position [of losing a son],” Ms Harding said.

“When they went over there they knew the laws were in place but thought they were for [IS] terrorists.

“But, because the Government was very wishy-washy on it, people had gone over in the role our boys had gone over, and came back — they weren’t prosecuted.

“There was no indication they were going to apply it to people fighting against [IS].”

She said she wanted the Prime Minister to “do the right thing”.

“Don’t make him a scapegoat because you do not want to lose face,” Ms Harding said.

Lawyer says Dyball can claim defence of serving foreign government
The 23-year-old Queensland man was deported from Germany on Saturday night after being detained while taking a break from the battlefield.

It is understood he was held by German authorities on the basis of his links to a Kurdish militia group fighting against IS in northern Syria.

Mr Dyball — also known as Mitchell Scott — will touch down in Melbourne, where it is expected he will be greeted by Australian Federal Police officers.

He has been fighting against IS forces with a Kurdish militia called the YPG in northern Syria and risks prosecution under Australian foreign fighter laws, which forbid entering a foreign country with the intention of taking up arms.

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.

“There is also a separate and quite pressing public interest argument against prosecuting citizens who have been on the front line against Islamic State,” Ms Smith said.

“At this stage we’ll just take it one step at a time, and the first step is to make sure that Mr Dyball’s rights are reserved at Melbourne Airport.”

BY LEXY HAMILTON-SMITH, EMMA BLACKWOOD
Source: ABC NEWS

UA-57178893-1