Toowoomba teen stranded in Syria responds defiantly
UPDATE: Toowoomba teenager Oliver Bridgeman - who is stranded in Syria after the Australian Government cancelled his passport - has responded defiantly to the news.
"No matter what the Australian government (sic) say or do, they know that I'm here to help humanity and especialy (sic) the people of Syria," he posted on Facebook.
He posted the comments above a link to an ABC article outlining the government's moves.
Mr Bridgeman's lawyer Alex Jones from Bosscher Lawyers says the decision to cancel his passport has put his client in limbo, with him being unable to leave the country without facing the prospect of a lengthy jail sentence.
The government's position is that if Mr Bridgeman continues to hold an Australian passport, he "would be likely to engage in conduct that might prejudice the security of Australia or a foreign country" and that its cancellation would "prevent him from engaging in the conduct".
The Toowoomba teenager's post has attracted widespread support from his followers.
Asma Ben Yedder wrote: "U (sic) are for humanity and the world know (sic) it! Be strong."
Emmalee English said: "Be safe Oliver, I honestly hope this can be reversed."
Courtney Eccles said: "This is your home, they should let you come home."
Amarzeb Afridi said: "Brother Oliver Bridgeman media will always look faults n (sic) defame you! But remember Allah knws (sic) what in your (sic) heart! Poor syrians (sic) will be witness for u (sic) on day of judgment!may Allah give you strenght (sic) and reward you!! Keep company with our brother tox inshAllah! (sic).
EARLIER: Toowoomba teenager Oliver Bridgeman's passport has been cancelled just as he was preparing to leave the war-torn country and return home.
Mr Bridgeman left Australia for Syria last year after travelling through Bali.
There was speculation he had joined in the fighting in the civil war, but he claims to have been only working for humanitarian group Live Updates From Syria.
Human rights and criminal lawyer, Alex Jones from Bosscher Lawyers is representing Oliver Bridgeman and confirmed that papers were served on his parents at their Toowoomba home this afternoon that stated his passport had been cancelled because he could potentially engage in "politically motivated violence" in the future.
The papers stated that if he continued to hold an Australian passport, he "would be likely to engage in conduct that might prejudice the security of Australia or a foreign country" and that its cancellation would "prevent him from engaging in the conduct".
Mr Jones said there was absolutely no evidence Mr Bridgeman had engaged - or ever intended to engage - in any unlawful acts while in Syria.
"The Australian Government has provided no evidence whatsoever that he poses any threat to anyone," Mr Jones said.
The human rights lawyer said the decision had left Mr Bridgeman in limbo and with no legal way of returning to Australia.
He said Mr Bridgeman had been told to surrender his cancelled passport to the nearest diplomatic mission or consular post - the closest being in Turkey.
But if he attempts to cross into Turkey, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
"Mr Bridgeman has no legal way to cross the border from Syria to Turkey," Mr Jones said.
He said Mr Bridgeman had immediate plans to return home to Australia, and through his lawyers, had communicated to the Australian Federal Police his willingness to co-operate fully upon his return.
Mr Jones said the decision to cancel his passport was "nonsensical" and greatly distressing to the teenager's parents.
In advising Mr Bridgeman of the cancellation of his passport, the Australian Government has said it would "consider" issuing him with a "limited validity travel document" to come home.
"He has been advised that if he does so with his cancelled passport, he faces ten years in prison," Mr Jones said.
"The Australian Government has stranded a Queensland teenager in a foreign country.
"This has happened at a time when Mr Bridgeman was organising to come home and had been communicating and fully co-operating with authorities.
"We do not understand the point of this.
"Mr Bridgeman has nothing to hide.
"His parents have cooperated with authorities during their son's time in Syria and are devastated that he now has no means of returning home to them.
"Mr Bridgeman has been in Syria carrying out humanitarian work. He spends his time handing out food and clothing to some of the world's least fortunate."
Bosscher Lawyers will file an appeal against the decision to cancel Mr Bridgeman's passport on Monday.
Mr Bridgeman has appeared in numerous videos which have been posted online.
Many of them show him handing out aid to Syrians.
One of them shows him narrowly avoiding a Russian airstrike in Latakia and more recently he was seen walking among the ruins following a bombing in Aleppo.
The Chronicle made contact with Mr Bridgeman today but was unable to discuss the passport issue.