6 Mar 2019

Kiwi jihadi Mark Taylor interviewed in jail, says he feels 'stabbed in the back'

9:01 am on 6 March 2019

New Zealand jihadi Mark Taylor is surprised to hear what politicians have had to say about him since he was captured in Syria.

Mark Taylor during his time with ISIS.

Mark Taylor during his time with the Islamic State group. Photo: Facebook

Journalist Campbell MacDiarmid from The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, has interviewed Taylor in prison.

Mr MacDiarmid told Morning Report "One of the first things he asked me ... was 'What's the New Zealand government saying about me'."

He was surprised to hear what politicians had said.

"I don't think he's quite fully able to understand the magnitude of the situation in which he's found himself.

"He actually said he felt stabbed in the back because apparently he's been in touch with New Zealand intelligence, he says, who have been urging him to leave Isis and I think he assumed that once he left he could expect some kind of assistance to get him back to New Zealand."

Taylor had heard there was to be a referendum on cannabis and was interested in starting a medicinal cannabis company "of some kind".

But Mr MacDiarmid didn't believe New Zealand would be the first place Taylor would go if he were freed.

"I think its clear that a long time ago him and New Zealand realised they weren't the most compatible because of his beliefs and he converted to Islam and his desire to live under what he perceives to be correct Sharia law.

"He did ask whether he would be able to get his passport back and go to Indonesia."

Taylor was "quite subdued" and shuffling when interviewed by Mr MacDiarmid.

"He said he left Isis because he was basically starving and had been reduced to begging and scavenging. He was definitely subdued when I spoke to him.

"But at the same time he was still fairly steadfast in his beliefs. He didn't have regrets about joining Isis. He had regrets about how it subsequently turned out for him later."

Mr MacDiarmid said he didn't think Taylor had been in contact with anyone from New Zealand since he had been in jail.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs