The doctor who blew the whistle on alleged chemical weapons offences by the Assad regime in Syria has now been exposed as a known terrorist.
UK-trained doctor Dr Shajul Islam, from East London, was praised after he published video where he was seen treating gas attack victims following Tuesday’s deadly attack in Syria.
Shajul Islam, it turns out, had previously stood trial on terror offences and had belonged to a terrorist group that kidnapped British journalist John Cantlie.
The University of London graduate was arrested and charged with kidnapping two journalists – Mr Cantlie and Dutch reporter Jeroen Oerlemans – in 2012 but was released after the trial collapsed when neither of the prosecution’s witnesses were able to give evidence.
He has always protested his innocence, saying he went to Syria to use his medical skills to treat victims of the civil war.
Dr Islam, worked as a doctor at St Bart’s hospital, is currently removed from the medical register after a fitness to practise hearing at the General Medical Council in March.
After the criminal case against him collapsed, and he was found not guilty, he faced close monitoring by the security services.
According to a GMC report, a secret tribunal panel heard the disciplinary case against Dr Islam in March this year and banned him for misconduct. The hearing was held in private so the details of the misconduct are not publicly known.
At the time of his 2012 prosecution Dr Islam, then 28, and a second man, Jubayer Chowdhury, then 24, were the only alleged British jihadists charged with kidnapping Westerners in Syria.
The pair — held in high security Belmarsh prison — walked free from court after all charges were dropped.
At the start of the hearing in November 2013, prosecutor Mark Dennis QC told the court that all evidence against the brothers rested on the two victims, who were unable to be called, and therefore could not proceed with the case.
A verdict of not guilty was recorded for the charge of kidnapping.
Media reports later suggested Islam may have held the key to the then unknown identity of Jihadi John, who was later unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi.
In his YouTube video of the toxic attack on Tuesday, Dr Islam said: ‘The patients keep just flooding in from this chemical attack,’ he says in a Twitter video , purportedly taken inside a Syrian hospital this morning. ‘Every one – every one – has got pinpoint pupils’.
‘The patients keep coming, we’ve run out of ventilators,’ the humanitarian aid added.
‘We don’t have enough ventilator space, so we’re now taking out the transport ventilators we have in our ambulances and we’re going to try to modify them to see if we can use them for our patients.’
Dr Islam said that it was ‘definitely not a chlorine attack’, suggesting that the more severe sarin was used.
Footage from his hospital shows adults and children lying on hospital beds unresponsive, as medics work to save their lives.
‘I will show you the evidence again and again, but you know what? The world doesn’t care and no-one is doing anything,’ says Dr Islam.
‘We urge you to put pressure on your government – put pressure on anyone – to help us.’
An AFP journalist in Khan Sheikhun saw a young girl, a woman and two elderly people dead at a hospital, with foam still visible around their mouths.
Doctors at the facility were using basic equipment, some not even wearing lab coats, and attempting to revive patients who were not breathing.
A father carried his dead little girl, her lips blueish and her dark curls visible, wrapped in a blue sheet.
As doctors worked, a warplane circled overhead, striking first near the facility and then hitting it twice, bringing rubble down on medics and patients.
In a video posted online by Idlib’s local medical directorate, a doctor described patient symptoms as he treated a child.
‘We are seeing unconsciousness, convulsions, pinpoint pupils, severe foaming, and lack of oxygen,’ he said.
Dr Islam hit the headlines last summer, when he appeared in another YouTube video, filmed in Idlib, claiming to be providing medical help to the victims of Syrian and Russian airstrikes.
The video for citizen journalist site On the Ground News, shows Islam wearing hospital scrubs and a stethoscope.
He tells American journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem that he is one of very few foreign doctors treating civilians injured in air strikes in north Syria.
Asked why he has come to Syria, Islam replies: ‘I’m a doctor. There’s a serious shortage of doctors.
‘Anyone who is a doctor needs to be here. I don’t understand why anyone who is sitting in England or Europe or America isn’t here.’
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