Body of ex-Army officer to be flown from Turkey to UK

Body of ex-Army officer to be flown from Turkey to UK

The body of a former British army officer who helped found the White Helmets volunteer group in Syria is to be flown to London following a post-mortem, Turkey’s state-run news agency said

The Anadolu Agency said James Le Mesurier’s body would be flown aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul airport later on Wednesday.

Mr Le Mesurier was found dead outside his home in Istanbul on November 11. Police believe he fell to his death and are investigating the circumstances.

Turkey’s Forensic Medicine Institute said toxicology and other examinations were continuing, adding that a report into his death would be sent to prosecutors “as soon as possible”.

People walk past the house of James Le Mesurier who co-founded the White Helmets (Emrah Gurel/AP)
People walk past the house of James Le Mesurier who co-founded the White Helmets (Emrah Gurel/AP)

Last week, a top Russian official alleged Mr Le Mesurier was a spy — a claim Britain strongly denies.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused him of being a former British agent working in the Balkans and the Middle East.

She claimed he had “been spotted all around the world, including in the Balkans and the Middle East”.

“Given the role of the West in undermining stability in these regions, it is not difficult to assume what the British intelligence officer did there,” she said.

Amnesty International said on Tuesday that there was a possibility of foul play and called for an investigation.

James Le Mesurier was found dead outside his home (AP)
James Le Mesurier was found dead outside his home (AP)

Mr Le Mesurier’s body was found near his home in the Beyoglu district by worshippers on their way to a mosque, according to reports by Anadolu.

Anadolu also said Mr Le Mesurier’s wife told police that her husband had been taking medicine to treat “intense stress”.

Mr Le Mesurier was the founder and chief executive of May Day Rescue, which founded and trained the White Helmets, also known as the Syria Civil Defence.

The group, which has had more than 3,000 volunteers in opposition-held areas, says it has saved thousands of lives since 2013 and documented Syrian government attacks on civilians and other infrastructure.

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