Oxford

IS suspect Jack Letts' parents arrested

Jack Letts
Image caption Jack Letts posted a picture on Facebook claiming to be outside Raqqa in Syria

The parents of a British man who reportedly travelled to Iraq to join the so-called Islamic State group have revealed they were arrested by police.

Jack Letts, 20, from Oxford, has been labelled "Jihadi Jack" by some newspapers, which reported he left the UK to join the group when he was 18.

John and Sally Letts told Channel 4 News they were arrested after they sent him money for food and new glasses.

Thames Valley Police confirmed it had made two arrests.

A spokesman said: "A 55-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman from Oxford were arrested on suspicion of sending money to Syria which could be used for terrorism purposes... and were bailed until 17 February."

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The South East Counter Terrorism Unit (Sectu) said last month it was aware of the recent media reports and revealed Jack had been under investigation since March 2015.

It added: "We are unable to comment [on] any specifics... but would like to say that anyone who knows of someone who may be potentially vulnerable to being drawn into terrorist-related activity, including travelling abroad to conflict zones, should contact local police."

Mr Letts' parents said he had converted to Islam but dismissed the claims he had joined so-called Islamic State as "false" and said he travelled to the region for humanitarian reasons.

Image caption John Letts, pictured during an appearance on BBC Countryfile, is an archaeological botanist

Mr Letts said: "I think it's crazy that we can't send a penny... to help him because we'll be seen as supporting terrorism."

Mrs Letts added: "It's the worst feeling in the world. You feel completely helpless. Your child's out there, they have no support, they're still reliant on you, he's sending desperate messages to us saying it's cold, or he doesn't have food."

Speaking to the BBC last week, Dr Sheikh Ramzy, director of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre, described their son as "very kind" and "always smiling", but said he had lost contact with him in 2014.

He said: "All the people were fond of him. I taught him basic Islam, and how to pray, how to be kind, how to be a humanitarian... and how to be peaceful, because Islam is a religion of peace.

"He's not a Jihadist... he's been brainwashed. I can put my hand on my heart and say he's a very good, young lad."

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