WIFE says former army officer who fell from Istanbul balcony was under ‘intense stress’ following year-long accusations from Moscow branding him a spy
James Le Mesurier, the 48-year-old founder and director of the Mayday Rescue group and an ex-British army officer, died in the Kemankes Karamustafapasa neighbourhood early on Monday as reported by Turkish authorities.
Mayday, is a non-profit based out of Istanbul and Amsterdam which “trained, equipped and managed networks of local volunteers who have provided life-saving support to hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in conflicts.”
The group was established in 2014 and has received funding from the UN and a number of foreign governments, including the UK and was one of the main supporters for the White Helmets which is a volunteer rescue operation, filling the gap left by the official emergency services
White Helmets Director Raed al-Saleh tweeted of Le Mesurier’s death on Monday.
“We received the reports of the death of our friend James with sorrow, he was the director of Mayday Rescue organization which is one of the main supporters for the White Helmets,” al-Saleh said.
We have learned with shock and sadness the news of the death of @lemesurierjames, founder and director of the humanitarian organization @MaydayRescue, early on Monday at his home in Tophane in Istanbul, Turkey. Mayday is one of the institutions supporting the White Helmets. pic.twitter.com/czhB3IkdWN
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) November 11, 2019
The news of Le Mesurier’s death comes just three days after the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had accused Mr Le Mesurier of being a ‘former agent of Britain’s MI6’ and working for the agency in the Balkans, Middle East and Kosovo.
In a briefing last Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova insinuated that Le Mesurier had active ties to Britain’s foreign intelligence service as well as to terrorist groups.
“Thanks to investigations, primarily by foreign journalists, it is reliably established that one of the founders of the White Helmets is Le Mesurier, a former British intelligence officer of MI6,” Zakharova said.
“He lit off many conflicts 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 added.
The British co-founder of Syria’s White Helmets was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in 2016, when he received the Order of the British Empire “for services to Syria Civil Defence and the protection of civilians in Syria.”
The tragic incident occurred whilst Mesurier’s wife was asleep, it has been reported that Mesurier’s wife doesn’t suspect foul play, but as she was asleep at the time cannot confirm 100 per cent.
An Investigation has been launched.