WorldNew Zealand jihadist Mark Taylor captured in Syria and jailed in Kurdish prison
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Australian man Hazem Hamouda "vanishes" in Egypt after failing to turn up at a police station where he was due to be released after languishing in one of Egypt's most notorious prisons for more than a year without charge or evidence. Mr Hamouda, 54, who was arrested at Cairo International Airport on January 25 — also the anniversary of the 2011 Egyptian uprisings — was accused of sympathising with the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood for allegedly spreading false news on social media.
A New Zealander serving with the Islamic State group has been captured in Northern Syria and is being held in a Kurdish prison.
Nicknamed the Kiwi Jihadi, Mark Taylor told the ABC he fled the Islamic State group in December and surrendered to Kurdish forces because life had become unbearable.
"There was no food, no money, basic services were pretty much collapsed. I was in a pickle myself and had to make a final decision, which was to leave," Taylor said.
"That was a hard decision to call, because people were telling me 'you can't leave, you came here for the sake of Allah, you came here to die'."
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Begum (pictured), who has had her British citizenship revoked, was one of three schoolgirls to leave Bethnal Green to join the terror cult in 2015 and resurfaced heavily pregnant last week.
For five years he lived with the extremist group but claims he wasn't a fighter and was only deployed as a guard.
"I was helping to guard a border between the Syrian Government and the Islamic State," he said.
"There's a difference between fighting and guarding. Guarding you don't need to plan anything; attacking you need to make preparations.
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A British terror suspect known as ‘Jihadi Jack’ has revealed he wants to return to the UK because he misses his mum, sci-fi series Doctor Who and pasties. Jack Letts, 23, ran away in 2014 to fight with Islamic State and has spent the past two years in a Kurdish prison in Syria, charged with being a member of ISIS. Speaking to ITV News, the British-Canadian said he missed the comforts of British life. "I miss people mostly. I miss my mum. I know that sounds a bit toddler-ish,” the Muslim convert said. "Even if I could just see my mum - I would like just a phone call. I don't know if Britain can do that for me here, but I'd like just a phone call to my mum. It’s been two years.
"Every two hours on a 24 hour basis, you have to guard a particular area."
In 2015, the US Government declared Taylor a global terrorist after he encouraged attacks in Australia and New Zealand and appeared in an IS propaganda video.
He also posted a YouTube video telling followers to "commence your operations, even if it means you have to stab a few police officers, soldiers on Anzac Day and so be it."
In 2009, he was arrested in Pakistan for trying to gain access to Al Qaeda.
In 2010, he was deported by ASIO after he was assessed as being a security risk. Taylor had lived in Australia on and off for 25 years.
Jailed three times by IS secret police
Taylor said life under the Islamic State group wasn't what he had anticipated.
Very quickly, he said, he was on the radar of IS's secret police unit and jailed three times.
"I had [become] more resentful towards the security of the Islamic State more than anything else. I was threatened with torture and jailed on suspicion of being a spy," he said.
Australian kids behind Islamic State enemy lines 'not responsible for crimes of parents', PM says
The children of Australia's most notorious terrorist's who are believed to be trapped behind enemy lines are not responsible for their parent's crimes, but there is little Australia can do to offer them safe passage, the Prime Minister says. A woman believed to be Australian jihadi bride Zehra Duman revealed the surviving children of IS fighter Khaled Sharrouf are in the town of Baghouz, which is surrounded by Kurdish-led forces.
"The last time was quite ridiculous. I was accused of drinking and making alcohol and smoking hashish."
In October 2015 he gave away the location of Islamic State fighters on Twitter when he forgot to turn off the geotagging function.
He spent 50 days in an IS prison over the incident.
"The Twitter account got suspended, and on the ninth of January 2015 I was given a letter by one of the officials and told to have a meeting," he said.
"They took me into a room, took my weapon off me and anything else, like my mobile phone, which I never see again, and say 'you're under suspicion for 12 GPS locations around the Islamic State'."
Witness to beheadings and executions
During his time with the Islamic State, he said, he witnessed a number of beheadings and executions.
"They had a lady they took out of a truck and shot her in the back of the head. There was a big crowd gathering around. I asked, 'what's going on?' but no-one answered," he said.
"The other time I was living in Soussa, they had someone crucified with a sign around his neck, but I didn't know [what it read]. I couldn't understand the Arabic.
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"Anyone that spoke openly against the oppression ends up going to jail or getting their head cut off."
He claims to have met few Australians in Syria other than Neil Prakash.
"I come across him when I was in Raqqa," he said.
"He was making a video with the head of Islamic [State] media and asked me to be a stand in, so I was just sitting there for 10 minutes, but I was only in it for about a second.
"He told me he had health problems, he had kidney stones."
'Too poor' to afford a female slave
He says one of his regrets while living in the so-called Islamic State was being unable to afford a Yazidi slave.
"I would have like to have one, but I never got to," he said.
"To buy a slave, you're looking at least 4,000 American ($5,625) to buy an older woman, at least past 50 years old. And to buy a decent one, at least [US] $10,000 or $20,000. They range from prices from [US] $4,000 up to $50,000, and I didn't have that kind of money just to throw around myself. I was too poor."
Taylor said he believed if he owned a slave he was entitled to do whatever he wanted, and he didn't care that the women were taken forcibly as slaves.
"It's not my concern because, as I said, to buy a lady it costs money," he said.
"I would go to the masjid (mosque) and someone would say, 'I bought a slave for [US] $5,000, $10,000', and I thought I'd like to have that kind of money myself, but I never had the chance, so I stuck to being married to a Syrian lady."
Taylor had two wives while living with the group, both of them Syrian.
"I was married to one Syrian lady from Deir Ezzor. Her name is Umm Mohammed. She begged me to leave and go to Idlib, then onto Turkey," he said.
"One month after that I married another Syrian woman who was pro-Islamic State — much younger lady — but I divorced her. She didn't want to stay in my house; she wanted to move to another area and be close to her friends, not her husband.
"I had to explain to her on several occasions that she had to stay home and obey her husband."
Taylor said he would be surprised if New Zealand did not take him back.
"If they do take me back, most probably I'll be spending a couple of years in jail," he said.
And he had an apology, of sorts, for his home country.
"I'm sorry for causing too much trouble and being a bit hot-headed and flamboyant in my approach… I don't know if I can go back to New Zealand, but at the end of the day it's really something I have to live with for the rest of my life."
Chelsea Manning jailed for refusal to testify in WikiLeaks case.
Chelsea Manning, who spent more than three years in prison for leaking US military secrets to WikiLeaks, was jailed again Friday for refusing to testify in a grand jury investigation targeting the anti-secrecy group. US District Judge Claude Hilton ruled Manning in contempt of court and ordered her held not as punishment but to force her testimony in the secret case, according to a spokesman for the US attorney in the Alexandria, Virginia federal court. "Chelsea Manning has been remanded into federal custody for her refusal to provide testimony," said a statement from the Sparrow Project, a support group for Manning.
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