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UK man charged over photographers' kidnapping in Syria

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Wed October 17, 2012
  • Shajul Islam is charged with "unlawfully and injuriously" imprisoning two photographers
  • He was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport last week
  • A 26-year-old woman arrested alongside Islam was released without charge
  • Photographers John Cantlie and Jeroen Oerlemans were held for a week in July

London (CNN) -- A British man appeared in a London court Wednesday, charged with the kidnapping of two Western photographers in Syria this summer.

Shajul Islam, 26, is accused, together with others, of having "unlawfully and injuriously imprisoned" two photographers between July 17 and July 26. The two are Briton John Cantlie, who has worked for the Sunday Times newspaper, and Dutchman Jeroen Oerlemans.

Islam, who was charged late Tuesday, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Wednesday morning for a preliminary hearing.

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He is qualified as a National Health Service doctor, having trained at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, the court heard.

Prosecutor Piers Arnold told the court that Islam had joined a jihadist group in Syria and worked as a medic for it.

There could be as many as 15 British nationals working at the jihadists' camp in Syria, Arnold said.

Islam was remanded in custody, with the next hearing due to take place on November 2 at the Old Bailey, London's main criminal court.

He was arrested a week ago after arriving at London's Heathrow Airport on a flight from Egypt. A 26-year-old woman was arrested alongside Islam on suspicion of planning or taking part in terrorist acts. She was released Tuesday without charge.

Police searched two addresses in east London in connection with their arrests.

The photographers said they were held hostage by jihadist fighters in Syria for a week in July.

CNN's Jonathan Wald and Dan Rivers contributed to this report.

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