British wife of Syrian fighter guilty of funding terrorism
UPDATE: On 20 December, Noor was given a 18-month sentence and Webster sentenced to 17-months.
A young woman who was a supporter of violent jihad and sharia law has been found guilty today (12 December) of sending money to help fighters in Syria.
In May last year Amaani Noor, 21, was told by her friend Victoria Webster, that a fighter in Syria was struggling with debt during Ramadan and needed money for food and supplies.
Webster, 28, from Lancashire, gave Noor details of a PayPal account belonging to a group calling itself “The Merciful Hands”.
Noor, who ran an online jewellery business, transferred $45.51 to the account on the same day under a false name.
Noor’s husband in Syria, who she had never met and started talking to on the Telegram chat app in April 2018, told her he knew the person behind “The Merciful Hands” account and he was a good friend.
Noor’s husband described himself as an independent fighter against Syrian government forces. He said he was not a member of Daesh or other groups like it due to their disorganisation.
Around the time she started talking to him, Noor began following the Telegram group account of “The Merciful Hands”.
In a prepared statement she gave the police after her arrest in November 2018, Noor accepted sending the money but claimed it was to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of the civil war in Syria.
She said she created her PayPal account using a fake name to remain anonymous when making the donation “due to Islamic values and teachings”.
The Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS argued that she must have suspected the money may be used for terrorist purposes.
At a hearing earlier this year at Liverpool Crown Court, Webster pleaded guilty to transferring $60.00 of her own money to the same group and to inviting Noor to make her own contribution. The two friends never met but, like Noor and her husband, knew each other through conversations on Telegram.
Amaani Noor and Webster will be sentenced at a later date.
Jenny Hopkins, from the CPS, said: "Amaani Noor and Victoria Webster knew or should have known that their donations may have been used to buy weapons and supplies for terrorists in Syria.
"The jury rejected Noor's explanation that she only intended the money to be used for humanitarian aid.
"If she genuinely wanted to help those in need there were many reputable groups she could have used but that was never her goal."
Notes to editors
- Amaani Noor (DOB: 25/04/1998) from Liverpool was convicted of funding terrorism, contrary to section 15(3) of Terrorism Act 2000
- At a hearing on 27 June 2019, Victoria Webster (DOB: 16/03/1991) from Lancashire, pleaded guilty to two counts of funding terrorism to a total value of $60.00, contrary to section 15(3) of Terrorism Act 2000 and one count of inviting Amaani Noor to fund terrorism, contrary to section 15(1) of Terrorism Act 2000
- Jenny Hopkins is the head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division in the CPS.