Romanian embassy steps in to help Burnley born parents of man held in high security prison in Syria

The Romanian embassy has stepped in to help the family of Kristian Baxter who is being held in Syria.
The Romanian embassy has stepped in to help the family of Kristian Baxter who is being held in Syria.
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The Burnley born parents of a man who went missing in Syria have been told he is being held in a notorious high security prison.


Kristian Baxter has been taken to the prison known as Palestine Security Branch 235, which is based in Damascus, according to his mother Andrea Leclair, who is originally from Burnley but now lives in Canada.

Andrea said: "We are very concerned about the conditions Kristian is being held in as no-one is allowed to see him, not even a lawyer, but we believe he hasn't done anything wrong and he should be freed now."

In a bid to get help for her son, Andrea has written to several ambassadors who have embassies in Syria.

And the Romanian embassy has held a meeting and set up a co-ordinated action plan to help Kristian.

Andrea added: "The Canadian government are trying to help also but they don't have any direct communication with Syria and the British Foreign Office have also opened a file on the case."

Kristian has not been heard from since he travelled to Syria via Lebanon on his Canadian passport in November.

Although he was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, Kristian (45) is passionate about Burnley, the hometown of his parents.

Kristian, who moved to live in Canada when he was one, has visited the town regularly since he was a child and set up a facebook page devoted to Burnley's histor history and heritage.

Burnley Lancashire Now and Then, now has over 16,000 members.

Andrea, who grew up in Burnley Wood and attended St Mary's RC Primary and the former St Hilda's High schools, said Kristian "loved everything" connected to Burnley and was very proud of the success of the facebook page.

Andrea who lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia, said: "We moved to Canada in 1974 when Kristian was a year old but we always used to come back to visit Burnley.

"When Kristian grew up he travelled and lived in London for many years and he would visit Burnley a lot at that time, frequenting the library for historic information.

"Even though he wasn't born in Burnley he always had an affinity for it and he is an experienced traveller."

Kristian had made the trip to Syria with his girlfriend's brother-in-law who has relatives there. The nightmare began when Kristian's bag, which contained a metal detector, was seized by the authorities.

Kristain was detained when he went to retrieve the bag after the driver who collected him from the airport was arrested when the authorities believed the case belonged to him.

Andrea has set up a gofundmepage to help her bring her son home and so far it has raised around $4,000 Canadian dollars.

To donate to the fund for Kristian please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/fund-for-kristian-baxter