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Prosecuting Terrorism

Terrorism, race hate, crimes against humanity, war crimes, violent extremism, hijacking and espionage cases are tackled by a specialist team of Crown Prosecutors. The Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS includes highly experienced prosecutors, advocates and caseworkers who work closely with the police to bring offenders to justice.

Find out more about how we prosecute cases of terrorism.

Briton jailed for terrorist activity in Syria

06/02/2015

Imran Khawaja, of London, was today jailed at Woolwich Crown Court having previously pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism, attending a terrorist training camp, weapons training and possession of an article for terrorist purposes.

On 26 January 2014, Imran Khawaja left Heathrow on a journey to Syria, where he was provided with training at a terrorist camp. Satellite imagery confirms that Khawaja had been north of Kirkuk in Iraq and southwest of Aleppo in Syria during his time abroad. Here, he joined a group known as Rayat al-Tawheed, an insurgent group of Islamist Muslims, principally from London, who are either members of and/or sympathetic to the message and activities of the Islamic State (IS).

In May 2014, Rayat al-Tawheed announced on social media that a "British ISIS fighter" who they called Abu Daigham al-Britani had been killed. Using clothing recognition techniques from previous photos of Abu Daigham al-Britani, this was identified as Imran Khawaja.

His death was soon discovered to be false when Khawaja was arrested in June 2014 trying to re-enter the UK, facilitated by his cousin, Tahir Farooq Bhatti. Both were arrested. A third man, Asim Ali, was later arrested when it was discovered that he was part of Khawaja's UK support network. Ali later pleaded guilty to entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism, contrary to Section 17 Terrorism Act 2000 and Bhatti pleaded guilty to assisting an offender contrary to section 4(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967.

Deborah Walsh, Deputy Head of Counter Terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Imran Khawaja's actions are one of the most appalling examples of violent extremism that I have seen committed by British jihadis returning from Syria.

"Photos and videos of Khawaja posing with child soldiers and severed heads defy the understanding of civilised people and paint a picture of a man who would stop at nothing to spread terror and hatred. It is clear from the evidence that he went to Syria to train and to fight, and was close to, if not directly in, a combat zone.

"It is vital that we bring the full force of the law against those who leave the UK to join terrorist causes. But people can only travel to engage in terrorism in Syria with the help and support of fundraisers and facilitators like Tahir Farooq Bhatti and Asim Ali, so it is right that they too are held to account for their actions."

Ends

Notes to Editors

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