‘Doctor’ Accused of Kidnapping Western Journalists Helped By UK Charity

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By Miles Goslett | 3:03 am, December 21, 2016

A leading UK charity has been helping a British Muslim doctor who was once accused of kidnapping Western journalists – and who was recently struck off by the General Medical Council for misconduct – to raise £100,000 destined for Syria, where he is treating bombing victims.

‘Prism The Gift Fund’ is a UK-registered charity which acts as an umbrella organisation for various humanitarian groups. Its trustees include Lord Stone of Blackheath, a Labour peer appointed by Tony Blair.

Heat Street has established that it has been using its status to attract donations for the not-for-profit organisation UK Action for Refugees, an aid group with a special focus on Syria.

UK Action for Refugees has, in turn, endorsed Shajul Islam, a British-trained doctor from London who is in Syria as a medical worker and is fronting its ‘Doctors In Syria’ campaign which has raised thousands of pounds in recent days. At the time of writing £101,000 had been raised in total.

But what some donors may not realise is that Islam was arrested in Britain in 2012 for the kidnap in July of that year in Syria of British photographer John Cantlie and Dutch photographer Jeroen Oerlemans.

The case went to trial at a crown court in London the following year but collapsed because neither of the prosecution’s witnesses was able to give evidence.

At the start of the hearing in November 2013, prosecutor Mark Dennis QC told the court that all evidence against Islam and his co-defendant rested on two victims who were unable to be called, and therefore the case could not proceed.

A verdict of not guilty was recorded for the charge of kidnapping. Islam walked free insisting he was innocent.

Donors may also be unaware that in March of this year Islam, who qualified from the University of London and worked at St Bart’s Hospital, was removed from the medical register after a fitness to practice register hearing at the General Medical Council.

According to a GMC report, a secret tribunal panel heard the disciplinary case against Islam and banned him for misconduct. The hearing was held in private so the details of his misconduct are not publicly known.

Islam is a prolific tweeter who frequently posts his own video reports from Syria. He is believed to be living in western Aleppo. According to his twitter handle the married father, aged 30, still considers himself a doctor.

A spokesman for Prism said in a written statement: “No money raised through Prism’s structures has ever gone to Shajul Islam. Moneys raised through the Gift Fund are used to purchase medical goods in the UK, which leave the charge of UK Action for Refugees when they leave UK shores, their onward transit handed over to other expert UK registered organisations.”

The spokesman later acknowledged over the phone that items bought with the money Prism has been helping to raise on behalf of UK Action for Refugees were being sent to Islam.

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