A former Dutch commando who has been fighting alongside an armed Kurdish group against IS in Syria has been arrested in the Netherlands.
Jitse A was picked up in Arnhem and is being investigated for his role in killing Islamic State jihadis while fighting with YPG forces, the public prosecution department said in a statement.
A, who is 47, was arrested on Wednesday and appeared in court in Rotterdam on Friday. He was released from custody and ordered to turn in his passport. He has also been told to report to a police station on a weekly basis.
‘According to Amnesty International, the YPG may have been involved in driving civilians from their homes in the north of Syria last year and then destroying them,’ the statement said.
‘We do not want people committing crimes off their own bat,’ spokesman Jirko Patist told news agency ANP.
‘This person is suspected of shooting to kill, of murdering people,’ he said. ‘This has to be investigated.’
A, who went to Syria at the beginning of last year, told the Leeuwarder Courant newspaper: ‘By putting down one member of IS, I am potentially saving dozens of lives.’
A worked for the Dutch armed forces for 10 years and, as a commando, was attached to the air mobile brigade. ‘Things I learned through the brigade benefited me in the fight against IS every day,’ he said on Facebook.
Dutch nationals who take up arms against IS fall under Dutch criminal law and can be prosecuted if they commit crimes. No decision has yet been taken on whether he should face criminal charges.
‘Dutch law does not allow citizens to use violence – apart from in extreme circumstances – and certainly not to use deadly force. Killing IS fighters can, therefore, result in a criminal prosecution for murder,’ the prosecution department statement said.
A told television programme EenVandaag last year he was also part of the Dutch UN division charged with defending Srebrenica against Serbian forces during the Yugoslavian civil war.
Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by Bosnian Serbs when the enclave was over-run.