A photo of a 7-year-old boy holding up the severed head of a slain Syrian soldier has prompted an uproar in Australia, home to the boy’s father — a convicted terrorist who fled to Syria last year to join the Islamic State militant group.
Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf posted the photo of his son wearing blue checkered pants, a blue shirt and a baseball cap on Twitter with the caption: “That’s my boy!” The photo highlights the brutality of the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Iraq.
Sharrouf is wanted by the Australian Federal Police on terrorism charges for crimes he committed in Syria and Iraq.
Twitter has since deleted the gruesome photo of the severed head assumed to have belonged to a pro-Assad soldier.
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry referred to the image as “one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever.”
“That child should be in school, that child should be out learning about the future, that child should be playing with other kids, not holding a severed head and out in the field of combat,” said Kerry.
Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott condemned and criticized the image, saying the photos of severed heads were “more evidence of just how barbaric this particular entity is.”
He was arrested in 2005 on terror-related charges and in 2007, a court-appointed specialist said Sharrouf was suffering an “acute exacerbation of the illness schizophrenia” and he received some medication. In 2009 it was deemed to have made a “remarkable recovery.”
Sharrouf appeared before the courts on multiple minor charges between 1995 and 1998. According to documents found by CNN, Sharrouf had been taking LSD, ecstasy and amphetamines during that time, which may have played a role in the emergence of schizophrenia.