CAGE has received a letter from the mother of Yusuf Sarwar who was sentenced today for offences related to Syria. In the letter, Mrs Sarwar writes:

Dear respected CAGE members, 
I welcome the proposal of returning jihadis with ‘good intentions’. My son was ushered into pleading guilty to going Syria. And is now awaiting sentencing at Woolwich Crown Court on 5th December. However he has not committed any offences, killed anyone or fought against any armed forces. He has simply secured areas, dug graves, fasted and given food to areas which were in need of dire help. 

The reason I am writing to you is about my son namely Yusuf Sarwar, I feel prison is not the answer, neither is my son radicalised neither is he a terrorist. Yes he went about helping in the wrong way, and he has suffered repercussions of this already he has been detained at HMP Belmarsh HSU CAT A since January 2014. 

Furthermore, an ex-adviser to the government Farooq Siddiqui, formerly of the Prevent programme, is calling for the UK to stop criminalising young Muslims who travel to Syria to fight against Bashar al-Assad. Mr Siddiqui asked why the government has threatened to arrest British Muslims who return from Syria while it allows young people to fight for Israel and other countries with impunity. And yet there is no enforcement of prison for those British that do join IDF. 

I urge you to push this initiative forward I feel it would benefit people who have ‘good intentions’. When will this initiative be implemented? Please can you advise us accordingly. What is your organisation doing to push this initiative forward? 

Kind regards


The investigation into Yusuf Sarwar began after his mother reported her son missing and was told by West Midlands Police that she would receive police support. Instead her house was raided and her son eventually arrested.

West Midlands had previously been pressuring women to come forward should they suspect their men-folk of involvement in Syria.
That police force were also in the firing-line this week after footage taken at a peaceful protest at Warwick University appeared to show officers violently abusing students.

Contact:            Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone:              +(44) 207 377 6700

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)