Toowoomba teen calls passport cancellation 'a joke'
TOOWOOMBA teenager Oliver Bridgman has spoken out for the first time since his passport was cancelled and a warrant issued for his arrest.
Mr Bridgman, 19, told a Sydney-based Muslim community internet channel he had been strictly doing humanitarian work since he arrived in Syria almost a year ago.
The Australian Federal police issued the arrest warrant earlier this month and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cancelled his passport stating that if he continued to hold a passport he "would be likely to engage in conduct that might prejudice the security of Australian or a foreign country".
Mr Bridgeman said the reasons why his passport was cancelled were "kind of a big joke" and it was not true he would participate in political violence.
"When I was planning to return home I was prepared to negotiate with the Australian Government 100% and cooperate fully," he said.
"I knew that when I arrived home, I would be fully questioned as I was warned about this and I was 100% fully ready to accept this."
Mr Bridgeman said he felt betrayed by the Australia Government and believed there was a double standard, using the example of Queensland man Ashley Dyball who was allowed to return home after fighting against the Islamic State group in Syria.
"I think they've painted every Muslim here that's come to Syria with all the same brush, that we're all terrorists, when that is quite frankly not the case," he said.
Mr Bridgeman's lawyer Alex Jones has repeatedly state there was no evidence his client had committed any offences and has lodged an appeal against the department's decision.