The Counter-Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - Successful prosecutions since 2016
Included in the list below is a brief summary of the cases which have been concluded since 2016. It should be noted that, as a general rule, a defendant is entitled to a one-third discount on his sentence if he pleads guilty at the earliest opportunity, with a sliding scale for guilty pleas which are entered later than that.
If a defendant is found guilty after trial, the Court can consider the maximum tariff to be available, subject to any personal mitigation that may be submitted on the defendant's behalf. Where a life sentence has been imposed, the tariff shown as the minimum sentence is the time to be served before parole can be considered. Some life sentences are shown as indefinite in which case it is for the Parole Board to monitor the defendant's progress towards a time when he can be considered for release.
Please note that in several of these cases reference is made to Daesh, also known as Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL and other names. The term used in each case is that which the defendants used to refer to the organisation or was used in evidence.
2019 (last updated 28 February 2020) Toggle accordion
R v Mohammed Yamin
In May 2013, Mohammed Yamin left his university engineering course in London and travelled to Syria. He returned to the UK on 1 July 2013, whereupon he made arrangements to travel back to Syria. During the intervening nine days, he purchased equipment and clothing which would have been useful to someone intending to engage in armed combat.
On 10 July 2013, he hastily booked a single flight ticket departing from London Heathrow Airport to Bucharest that same day. His travel plans were consistent with a route he had researched to Syria, which avoided arousing suspicion by the authorities.
Despite pleas from his family, Mr Yamin did not return to the UK until May 2014, by which time he was anticipating being arrested by the police. Upon his arrival, he was careful to ensure he was not in possession of any incriminating evidence; his mobile phone contained no data although encryption software had been installed. He was interviewed under caution but made ‘no comment’ and was subsequently released without charge.Thereafter Mr Yamin resumed his university course.
In late 2013, unbeknown to the UK authorities, VICE News had commissioned a documentary on Al Qaeda. A journalist travelled to Atmeh, in the Idlib region of Syria, and spent a day filming Abu Suleman with a group of males who had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. The group was positioned on the front line where the Al-Nusra Front/Al Qaeda in Syria were fighting against the Kurdish YPG. The journalist interviewed two British-speaking males, who did not reveal their names and covered their faces to avoid detection. The documentary was uploaded to YouTube.
In 2015, a university acquaintance recognised Mr Yamin as one of the males in the film wearing combat clothing, and holding a gun. He made a speech in which he denounced the West, declared himself to be a member of Al Qaeda and said he was engaged in a violent offensive.The film was brought to the attention of the police who commenced an investigation into the identification of the male in the footage. Visual recordings and audio material of Mr Yamin created from police encounters and open source research on the internet were submitted to experts in facial and voice comparison. The experts provided positive opinions to support the identification of Mr Yamin as one of the males in the VICE News documentary. Recognition evidence was also obtained from other individuals who were known to have had contact with Mr Yamin, albeit in differing circumstances. In combination, the identification evidence was compelling and the true purpose of Mr Yamin’s trip to Syria in July 2013 was evident.
In January 2019, Mr Yamin was arrested. He made ‘no comment’ when he was interviewed under caution, save for a brief statement in which he stated he was ‘not an advocate for any terrorist group’ and that he ‘didn’t harm anyone or participate in harming anyone or [use] any violence towards anyone’.
He was charged with three offences:
- Engaging in Conduct in Preparation of Terrorist Acts, contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006 (for his preparations for travel to Syria in 2013);
- Membership of a Proscribed Organisation, contrary to section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (namely Al Qaeda); and
- Possession of an Article for a Purpose Connected with Terrorism, contrary to section 57 Terrorism Act 2000 (specifically a gun).
Mr Yamin continued to deny the offences until shortly before his trial in July 2019, when he proposed a basis of plea to the first two charges, (section 5 and section 11). He accepted travelling to Syria to engage in the conflict; he admitted joining Jabhat Al Nusra and admitted being the person in the VICE News footage - albeit he denied being a member of the group for the entirety of his time abroad and maintained that he only served a limited combat role. Save for the footage from the journalist and some communications evidence, the prosecution had no evidence of Mr Yamin’s complete activities during his time in Syria in 2013/2014. Consequently, his offer to plead was accepted.
Mr Yamin was sentenced on 11 October 2019 at the Central Criminal Court. The Judge considered the Sentencing Guidelines and section 236A Criminal Justice Act 2003 and imposed concurrent terms of imprisonment as follows:
- Section 5 - 10 years 6 months’ imprisonment with one year extended licence and
- Section 11 - 4 years’ imprisonment with one year extended licence.
A Notification Order for 30 years was made. Mr Yamin was given credit for his guilty plea (25%); the Judge also noted his immaturity (at the date of the offences) and the positive changes in his lifestyle since his return.
Rv Elliott Richards-Good
Elliott Richards-Good joined a group called System Resistance Network (SRN), an extreme right wing organisation motivated by the ideology of white supremacy and/or Neo-Nazism. SRN’s main activities are (i) the production and promotion of online propaganda which is circulated to their audience via their website and social media accounts; (ii) a sticker/poster campaign whereby anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist material is placed in public areas to provoke reactions and attract recruits.
On 16 March 2018, members of the public reported a series of SRN posters, stickers and racist graffiti in the Grange Gardens, Tudor Street, Clare Road and Ferry Road area of Cardiff. The area in which the posters/graffiti were placed is a multi-cultural, residential and largely Asian area, and the content was racially abusive and referred to the area being a ‘Nazi zone’. Both the posters and graffiti were intended to target a “March Against Racism” event due to take place the following day - the starting point of the march and several locations on the route were targeted.
On 20 April 2018, the police received a report that a male was spraying racist graffiti on the Senedd (the National Assembly building). The graffiti was on the glass front of the building and read “traitors”. There was further graffiti and posters nearby, attributing the act to SRN, and celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday, which is the significance of the date.
On 20 September 2018, the defendant was arrested. A number of posters were discovered, including copies of those which were displayed on 16 March, all of which were abusive, insulting or threatening, and stirred up hatred on the grounds of race, religion or sexual orientation.
The investigation revealed that the defendant was significantly involved in SRN; he ran their recruitment campaign, filmed his own activities (including those on 20 April 2018) for the purpose of developing propaganda videos for the group, and actively encouraged others to commit criminal offences to promote SRN’s ideology.
The defendant was charged with two offences of stirring up racial hatred (16 March 2018), two offences of racially aggravated criminal damage (16 March 2018 and 20 April 2018) and seven offences of possessing material stirring up hatred on the grounds of race/religion/sexual orientation with intent to display or distribute it (relating to the posters found at his house). He pleaded guilty to all charges and, on 2 December 2019, was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court. In her sentencing remarks, the Recorder of Cardiff stated that the defendant was an enthusiastic member of SRN, who was aware that his activities had to be done undercover, and who filmed himself with publicity in mind. The Recorder noted that it would be difficult to predict the effect that attempts at rehabilitation would have in light of the fact that the defendant continued to hold far right views, demonstrated little insight, and had the intention to commit further offences. The Recorder stated that had the defendant been an adult (over 21), he would have received a sentence of at least three years’ imprisonment. However, taking into account the defendant’s age and guilty plea, he received a sentence of 16 months’ imprisonment, and was made subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order for a period of five years.
R v Vincent Fuller
Vincent O’Brien Fuller was 50 years old at the time of his offending which took place in close proximity to his home address in Stanwell, Surrey.
On 15 March 2019 Fuller received a clip of the video alleged to have been posted online by the attacker of the Mosque and Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. This person used firearms in order to kill 51 men, women and children and placed footage of the attack on social media.
On 16 March 2019 Fuller posted on social media a number of statements expressing his agreement with the actions of the attacker in New Zealand including his own wish to kill all those he believed to be ‘non-English’.
At around 10pm Fuller began a rampage of violent behaviour. He left his address with a baseball bat. He attacked a house in his neighbourhood by striking the door and attacked a number of occupied vehicles that were driving on Town Lane in Stanwell. He was heard by witnesses to shout a number of comments expressing his support for ‘white supremacy’ and his own desire to kill a Muslim.
Such was the ferocity of Fuller’s attacks that he broke the baseball bat in half. This prompted him to return to his home address. Not content with his actions, Fuller left the broken bat at his home, changed his clothes and left the address, this time walking to the Tesco supermarket on Town Lane.
At around 11pm a male was sitting in the driver’s seat of his motor vehicle in the Tesco car park. He was with his friends. Fuller walked towards the vehicle openly carrying a large kitchen knife. He said “You’re going to die” to the driver before lunging through the open driver’s door window with the knife. The male held his hand up to deflect the blow and the blade went into his hand causing significant injury. Fuller said “You’re going to die” again and lunged once more with the knife. On this occasion owing solely to the quick reactions of the victim of the attack the knife that was aimed for his neck only caused a superficial injury to that location.
The victim managed to start his car and drive away from the scene of the attack. Fuller then ran from the car park but was detained a short distance away by the police who had already arrived in the area owing to a number of reports from members of the public as to Fuller’s earlier behaviour. During his arrest Fuller shouted out a number of racist comments.
He was charged with attempted murder, possession of a bladed article, a racially aggravated public order offence and affray. The prosecution argued that the case against Fuller had a terrorist connection in accordance with section 30 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 as his action in attempting to murder the victim was an act of terrorism.
Fuller appeared before the Kingston Crown Court where he entered a guilty plea to the charges. He accepted that when he attempted to murder the victim that he did so motivated by hostility towards members of racist and religious groups but he denied that his action had a terrorist connection.
The prosecution did not accept Fuller’s version of events and continued to argue before the court that his action met the definition of an act of terrorism.
Following a contested hearing the judge agreed with the prosecution. He found that Fuller’s actions were motivated by both the cause of ‘white supremacy’ and Fuller’s anti-Muslim sentiment. The judge found that Fuller stated that his intention was to kill a Muslim and he attempted to do this by stabbing the victim. His purpose, as the judge found, was to strike fear into the hearts of people who he believed were ‘non-English’, in particular, Muslims.
The judge sentenced Fuller for the offence of attempted murder on the basis that it had a terrorist connection. For attempted murder Fuller was determined to be a dangerous offender within the meaning of section 226A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. As a result he received an extended sentence. He received a custodial period of 18 years and nine months' imprisonment with an extension to the sentence of five years. The total sentence was therefore 23 years and 9 months. Fuller will not be eligible for release from this sentence until he has served two thirds of the custodial term - 18 years and nine months.
R v Royal Barnes
Royal Barnes was convicted of seven offences of breaching his notification requirements in September 2019. He failed to provide the authorities with information about his phone numbers, email address, bank accounts and vehicle usage as required of qualifying terrorist offenders by Act of Parliament. He was sentenced on 7 October 2019 to three years’ imprisonment.
Mr Barnes was originally convicted of inciting terrorism overseas contrary to section 59 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and sentenced, on 14 March 2014, to 64 months’ imprisonment. Section 59 is a qualifying offence and Mr Barnes was a person who, at the time, was over 16 and made subject to a qualifying custodial sentence. The sentence meant that the notification requirements in the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 applied for a period of 15 years.
The requirements obliged Mr Barnes to inform a police officer of his personal details and current circumstances within three days of his initial release from prison and then again annually. If any material change occurred then he was required to inform the police within three days.
Mr Barnes complied with the initial notification obligations upon his release from prison and subsequently notified the police of two material changes in his circumstances. The obligations were suspended in June 2017 when he was returned to custody for breaching his licence conditions but recommenced in May 2019 when he was finally released.
On 16 April 2019 Mr Barnes was visited in prison by officers who informed him of new, stricter, obligations introduced by the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019. He was further reminded of the changes in writing by a probation officer. Upon release he completed the required notification on 5 May 2019. He subsequently notified a change of address and the purchase of a vehicle.
1: FAILURE TO NOTIFY OF A TELEPHONE NUMBER ENDING 602
On 5 May 2019 Mr Barnes contacted an officer using a phone number ending 602. A record was made of the number and on 24 May 2019 the officer contacted Mr Barnes. Barnes asked, “Where did you get this number?” He told the officer that it shouldn’t be used because it wasn’t his.
Subscriber checks were completed and found that the number had been registered with Vodafone to a Blackberry handset using the same email address that Mr Barnes provided at his notification meeting on 5 May 2019. CCTV footage from the police station where the notification took place showed Mr Barnes to have two working smartphones with him. A check with the Department for Work and Pensions also confirmed that Mr Barnes had registered this phone number with them.
2: FAILURE TO NOTIFY A TELEPHONE NUMBER ENDING 263
As mentioned above, Mr Barnes was recalled to prison in June 2017. After his second release in May 2019 his phone was restored to him without the SIM card. A cross network search of the handset serial number was subsequently completed and revealed that the handset had been registered on the H3G network using the telephone number ending 263. Mr Barnes’ personal email address had been registered with the phone account.
On 31 July 2019 Mr Barnes was involved in an incident in Ilford. He made an emergency call to report the matter using phone number 263. During the course of the call he also gave his name.
3: FAILURE TO NOTIFY USE OF RBS BANK ACCOUNT
Mr Barnes formally registered a NatWest account with the police and Department of Work and Pensions upon his initial release. Enquiries with Royal Bank of Scotland confirmed that Mr Barnes had the NatWest account but also uncovered ownership of another account. Customer profile details for this further account were obtained which indicated that Mr Barnes updated his personal details with them on 13 May 2019.
4: FAILURE TO NOTIFY USE OF AN EMAIL ADDRESS
On 6 May 2019 Mr Barnes submitted an online claim for universal credit to the DWP. He gave his email address as moneyman0795696 [server details redacted]. The claim was closed from 6 July 2019 due to the level of his earnings. The online application was made in the name of Royal Barnes. The bank account details were Mr Barnes’ NatWest account details and the phone numbers included the 602 number since 6 May 2019.
5: FAILURE TO NOTIFY USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
Police officers stopped Mr Barnes driving a Vauxhall Astra in the early hours of 30 August 2019 in the Crystal Palace area. A check was conducted which showed that, whilst Mr Barnes was not the registered keeper, he was the only person insured to drive the vehicle.
6: FAILURE TO NOTIFY BANK ACCOUNTS AT MONZO AND STARLING BANK
On 24 September 2019 Mr Barnes was arrested. He was searched and in his wallet was found a Monzo Bank card and a Starling Bank card, each in the name of Royal Barnes.
Mr Barnes was arrested, cautioned by the police and interviewed. He initially denied ownership of the Blackberry phone and associated number ending 602 but subsequently admitted he had been given it by a friend. He also admitted ownership and use of the number ending 263, three bank accounts, the email address and Astra vehicle. It was pointed out by the police that he had spoken to them on four separate occasions since his release from prison but had failed to register any of this information. He said he didn’t know why and concluded, “I’ve been silly”.
Mr Barnes entered guilty pleas to each of the offences. The case was deemed too serious for sentence in the magistrates’ court so was committed to the Crown Court where the sentence of three years’ imprisonment was imposed.
R v Salih Khater
On 14 August 2018 Salih Khater carried out a premeditated and deliberate attack on civilians and police officers near Parliament Square. His weapon was his car. First, he drove at cyclists waiting at traffic lights; then he drove at police officers who were guarding the side entrance to the Palace of Westminster. His actions were not a mistake or a result of some mechanical error. They were calculated to cause maximum death and injury. He caused widespread fear and chaos but miraculously did not kill anyone. He was convicted of two counts of attempted murder and sentenced, in October 2019, to life imprisonment with a minimum custodial term of 15 years.
Salih Khater was born on 26 January 1989 in Darfur, Sudan. He left Sudan in 2008 and travelled through Libya, Greece and France to the UK, arriving in July 2010. When he got to the UK he made an application for asylum. He said in his application that he had been involved with a Sudanese political organisation called the Justice and Equality Movement. He also alleged that he had been tortured by the Sudanese authorities and that his life would be in danger if he was ever to return. Leave to remain was granted by the UK authorities on 26 July 2010.
Mr Khater’s behaviour in the 24 hours leading up to the attack demonstrated his careful planning. On Monday 13 August 2018 he travelled from Birmingham (where he was living) to Peterborough to apply for a UK passport through the fast-track scheme. He was informed that the passport application that he had submitted was his first as an adult in the UK and so he was not eligible for the fast-track scheme. He then travelled back from Peterborough to Birmingham, stopped at an internet café, and at around 22:40 began his journey from Birmingham to London. He arrived into London at about 00:35hrs on 14 August 2018.
A clue about Mr Khater’s intentions was recovered from the mobile telephone that was later seized from him after his arrest. The Google Maps application was open on the phone and showed searches for locations including ‘Croydon UKBA Courier Service’, ‘10 Downing Street’ and ‘Westminster’. He was to drive around Westminster and past Downing Street during the course of his scene reconnaissance.
Mr Khater arrived, for the first time, into Parliament Square just before 01:00 on 14 August. He drove out of Parliament Square and over Westminster Bridge before performing a U-turn on the south side of the river and driving back to Parliament Square. From there he drove around the Square and into Whitehall, past 10 Downing Street. It seemed that he was scouting the area, for his subsequent actions required considerable familiarity with the road layout. He then drove on from Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross and Tottenham Court Road, arriving at 01:17. He parked on Windmill Street, where his car remained stationary with him inside for four-and-a-half hours. He then travelled back to Parliament Square but the area was then very quiet. Mr Khater drove past the location where he would later commit the attack, at normal speed and on the correct side of the road. He then stopped in Great Peter Street, got out and walked to the junction with Millbank; it seemed that he was sizing up his target. He then returned to his car and waited. When he eventually drove back past Parliament the two police officers who he was later to try to kill were just arriving for work, pulling on their high-visibility jackets.
Mr Khater drove out of Parliament Square and down towards St. James’ Park, along Birdcage Walk. Once he was half way along, he made a U-turn and drove back towards Parliament Square. For a third time, he drove past the location of the attack and drove along to Great Peter Street again. If not before, he would on this occasion have seen the two police officers in high visibility jackets. He turned into Great Peter Street, changed direction and drove back to Parliament Square. He then turned off in a different direction before returning to the Square. He then conducted three laps before attacking.
Mr Khater timed his attack in order to ensure the maximum number of cyclists were waiting at the lights at the junction of St. Margaret’s Street and Parliament Square. He turned sharply away from Parliament Square, driving on the wrong side of the road and in contravention of a ‘no left turn’ marking. It would have been obvious to anyone that this was not the correct way to turn, especially to Mr Khater who had driven correctly on the left-hand side of the road on two occasions in the previous hour. He caused chaos and injury; witnesses at the junction described the vehicle as revving towards them, driven in a calm yet determined manner. Expert analysis of Mr Khater’s route found that it involved a series of intricate and skilful manoeuvres that required a high degree of concentration. He then accelerated away from the chaos but veered down a narrow chute by the side of the main road towards the police officers. It was only their swift actions in jumping out of the way that saved them from serious injury or death.
Mr Khater was questioned at the roadside. He indicated that he was acting alone. In subsequent interviews at the police station he answered “no comment” to all questions. During the trial he said that he travelled to London in order to visit the Sudanese embassy; he wanted to obtain travel documents to return there and visit his family. However, the jury convicted him of two offences of attempted murder, one in relation to the cyclists and one in relation to the police officers. The judge imposed a sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 15 years.
R v Sally Lane and John Letts
A married couple from Oxford, Sally Lane and John Letts were found guilty on 21 June 2019 of one offence of sending money to their Daesh-supporting son, Jack Letts, who was in Syria. They were sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment suspended for 12 months, together with a 10-year notification requirement.
Sally Lane, 56, and John Letts, 58, were each charged with three offences of entering into a funding arrangements connected with terrorism.
Their son Jack Letts, 23, was a convert to Islam and had travelled to the Middle East in May 2014. Prior to the travel a friend of Jack Letts warned John Letts that ultimately Jack Letts intended to travel to Syria. He denied this was his intention to his parents. In September 2014 he went to Daesh-controlled areas in Syria. During the period 2015 and 2016, when Sally and John Letts were aware that Jack was in Syria, and knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that any money they sent, via circuitous routes, would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism, they sent or attempted to send him money.
They knew or had reasonable cause to suspect because of information available to them from their own communications with Jack, social media, what they were told by the police and also experts in radicalisation. Evidence from witnesses and messages exchanged by Jack and his parents showed they knew he held violent, extremist views before they sent him the money. This included a message Jack posted on Facebook in July 2015 in response to a photo of a former school friend standing alongside other soldiers after completing a British army training course. Jack Letts wrote: “I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this scene”. When his father challenged him Jack said attacking the British army was praiseworthy, that he would cut off his former friend’s head and if he ever came across him in the war torn region he would shoot him dead.
John Letts and Sally Lane were warned by the police that they should not transfer money to Jack as doing so could mean they were breaking the law. They ignored the advice and in September 2015 sent him £233 via an intermediary in Lebanon nominated by Jack.
Their defence was that they trusted their son when he told them he was acting as a translator and a civil administrator for Daesh. They did not support Daesh, its aims or methods.
R v Omar Ashfaq
Omar Ashfaq pleaded guilty to eight offences of dissemination of a terrorist publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and three offences of having in his possession information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 Terrorism Act 2000.
Ashfaq had used his father’s motor vehicle to deliver USB sticks that contained ISIS violent propaganda to several mosques in Loughborough, Luton, Birmingham, Derby and Coventry. He would arrive at the mosque and whilst worshippers were at prayer he would place the USB sticks in their shoes. Fortunately, CCTV was present in a number of the targeted mosques that had been and information was passed to the police that led to the identification of the defendant.
Ashfaq was arrested and a search was carried out at his address. The police recovered a significant number of USB sticks that contained the same material that had been delivered to the mosques from the house and also from his father’s motor vehicle. Also, a number of devices such as a lap top and a smart phone were seized and interrogated and found to contain the same material. Hard copy documents found in the defendant’s bedroom further revealed the preparation and planning that had gone into delivering USB sticks around the Midlands and further afield.
The material included audio files of speeches from Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical preacher and supporter of Al-Qaeda who encourages violent and non-violent jihad. Documents on the USB sticks and devices contained ISIS propaganda publications such as Dabiq, editions 1 to 15 and editions 1 to 10 of Rumiyah. Some of these publications had advice on how to carry out a knife attack on Westerners; information on making 'Molotov cocktail' incendiary devices and home-made bombs and carrying out fatal attacks by using trucks. The central message of the publications was to promote violent jihad in the West. There were a number of ISIS propaganda videos that glorified violent jihad, including the video ‘Flames of War’ that contained scenes of brutality of graphic executions by way of shootings and other videos showing people being burned to death.
The defendant was interviewed on three occasions. At the Pleas and Preparatory Hearing he entered guilty pleas to the section 58 charges and not guilty pleas to the section 2 charges. However on the day of the trial he changed his pleas to guilty. He was sentenced to five years and 6 months’ imprisonment (the custodial element was 54 months with an additional 12 months' licence period pursuant to section 236A CJA 2003). In addition, a notification period of 15 years was imposed on him under section 53 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008.
R v Mohammed Ghani
Mohammed Hamza Ghani was born on 21 November 1990 and was 28 years of age at the time of his sentencing. At the time of these offences he was living at home with his parents. Ghani shas a long history of engagement with mental health services. At the time of his arrest Ghani was the subject of a community treatment order and was the subject of a continuous review. Ghani had also been engaged with the Prevent Programme and his last meeting with them was on 3 January 2019 during which it is recorded that he displayed extreme views.
Ghani came to the attention of police on 9 January 2019. At 22:39hrs, Ghani called 999 and hung up. Ghani then made another 999 call and was abusive towards the operator. During the second call Ghani said: “Yeah, Hello, my name is Hamza - I’m known to the Police. I’m taken to the Police (inaudible) three or four years ago after I’ve committed no crime. A law abiding citizen until they decided to drug me up for no reason. That’s made me militant you fucking understand that?”, followed later in the call by "...I will fucking kill a civilian on the street for what they did to me. I will kill a police officer. For why I will kill a police officer for what they did to me do you fucking understand that? Cos I’m fucking angry...”. Later on 9 January 2019, Ghani called the Anti-Terror Hotline on two further occasions.
On 11 January 2019 MG was assessed by the mental health team and they found no evidence of a relapse and no abnormalities were noted.
Ghani was arrested at his home address on 12 January 2019. During the search of the home address exhibits were seized including USB sticks and various computers.
Ghani was interviewed and admitted possession of a USB and knowledge of the downloaded editions of Inspire magazine contained on it. Ghani said that he downloaded the material as it was of interest to him despite being previously told that it was illegal to do so.
Ghani was charged on 13 January 2019 with four offences contrary to section 58 Terrorism Act 2000 in relation to the editions of Inspire magazine and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 January 2019. Following a review of all of the digital material four offences were added.
On 2 April 2019, Ghani pleaded guilty to all counts. He was sentenced on 8 May 2019 to 28 months in custody, each count to be served concurrently.
R v Shane Fletcher
Shane Fletcher was on licence following a conviction for arson and had been referred to the Prevent programme after expressing extreme right wing views such as hatred for Jews, however he refused to engage with them. During discussions with his probation officer he said that he wanted to commit acts of mass murder. Police searched his house and found hand-written instructions for making pipe bombs and napalm along with the brief outline of a desire to attack people in his local town of Workington with vehicles and bombs at a local sporting event.
Fletcher was initially charged with two offences contrary to s.58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, possession of material useful to a terrorist. He pleaded not guilty, raising the defence that he had a reasonable excuse for having the material.
After he was charged, police retrieved Facebook messages from Fletcher to his friend encouraging the friend to join with him on the plan to commit a killing spree, setting out the plan and repeating the pipe bomb/napalm instructions. The friend had eventually declined to assist. On the evidence, although Fletcher held extreme right wing views against minorities, his motivation for the attack was revenge against everyone in his local town for perceived mistreatment against him. The charge did not therefore fit within the definition of terrorism set out in s.1 Terrorism Act 2000. Fletcher was then charged with incitement to murder contrary to s.4 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. He pleaded not guilty, with the defence that he was 'not serious'.
At trial, the prosecution demonstrated the persistence of his plans and incitement over many weeks and led evidence that he had researched where to buy component parts for bombs. Evidence was produced that showed Fletcher’s admiration for previous mass murderers. He was convicted of all charges in January 2019.
At sentence the judge had a psychiatric report that showed Fletcher did not have any recognised mental health disorders. He found that Fletcher was dangerous within the meaning of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The sentence for the incitement to murder was 13 years, made up of nine years’ imprisonment plus four years’ extended licence. The s.58 charges received concurrent sentences of three years. S.58 also carries the automatic requirement of a Terrorism Notification Requirement of ten years.
R v Steven Bishop
On 26 October 2018 Mr Bishop showed his key worker that he had purchased a VPN app so that no one could track his phone. He then showed her a web page which was titled ‘how to make a bomb’ and told her he was going to build a bomb and blow up a Mosque in a suicide mission.
She referred the matter to the police and they attended his address. He was spoken to and indicated he wanted to get revenge for an eight year old girl killed in Manchester. He showed them his search history which included:
- the dark web;
- explosives on the dark web; and
- Morden Mosque.
He also showed them a photo of a receipt for a remote control firework firing system.
On 29 October 2018 the police re-attended his address and recovered three multi-shot (cake) fireworks which had been tampered with. When an expert looked at the fireworks they confirmed that if confined they could be made to explode and constitute a clear risk of injury to anyone in close proximity as well as of damage to property.
The police located the defendant at his mother’s address and he was arrested. At that address the police found several pages of notes in the defendant’s handwriting. An explosives expert reviewed the notes and confirmed they contained a viable method for creating Thermite, a form of high explosive as well as a viable method that would make powdered high explosives more practical to use.
On 31 October 2018 a remote control firework firing system was delivered to the defendant’s address.
Bishop was charged with two offences. In respect of the defendant obtaining fireworks and firing system in order to bomb Morden Mosque he was charged with an offence of engaging in conduct in preparation for giving effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006. In respect of the notes the defendant had made of viable methods for making high explosives he was charged with an offence of possessing information likely to be of use to an individual committing an act of terrorism contrary to section 58 Terrorism Act 2000. He pleaded not guilty to both offences and a trial was fixed for 8 April 2019 at Kingston Crown Court.
Prior to the trial following the conclusion of the police investigation into the matter the Prosecution reviewed the case and decided that the conduct of the defendant obtaining the fireworks and firing system in order to bomb Morden Mosque was better reflected by an offence of possessing explosive material with intent to endanger life contrary to section 3 Explosives Substance Act 1883. That offence was substituted onto the indictment in place of the section 5 Terrorism Act offence 2000.
On the first day of trial the defendant decided to change his plea to guilty for both counts on the indictment. He was sentenced to a total of four years’ imprisonment to which a further 12 months was added to the sentence to reflect the terrorism connection for the Explosives Substances Act offence.
R v Fahim Adam
Fahim Adam was involved in a car accident on 2 November 2017, following which Lancashire police seized his mobile phone. Their purpose in reviewing the device was to ascertain whether Mr Adam’s use of it may have caused or contributed to the accident. The subsequent review found material that indicated an interest in Islamist extremism. Mr Adam was therefore arrested on 14 February 2018 and the phone, which had been returned, was again seized together with a laptop. Asked if the phone was his, he confirmed, “Yes, that’s the phone”. Further quizzed, “That’s the phone we downloaded?” he responded, “Yes”.
Amongst other items, Mr Adam’s mobile phone had copies of issues 2 and 4 of the Islamic State/Daesh magazine called Rumiyah. Each magazine contained a section, varying in length and detail, called ‘Just Terror Tactics’. The purpose of each article is to encourage the reader to engage in an act of terrorism and to explain how such an atrocity could be perpetrated. The two magazines were reflected in two charges contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
The Rumiyah 2 publication was stored as a PDF document on Mr Adam’s phone under the name ‘English.pdf’. Testing by the police hi-tech expert indicated that the 38-page document had been created on the device on 4 October 2016, the same day as it had been released by Daesh. It was opened using a PDF viewing tool on 28 November 2016 and retained until 24 July 2017 when it was deleted. The phone had the PDF viewing application installed so the device user had the capacity to view this document throughout the period of its possession.
The relevant article within the magazine was two pages long and focussed on knife attacks. It opened by pointing out that “an ocean of thoughts might pour into one’s mind, clouding the ability to make a final decision…A hardened resolve, some basic planning and reliance on Allah for success are enough for a single mujahid [warrior] to bring untold misery to the enemies of Allah”. The express purpose of the article was therefore to provide clarity where there might be uncertainty. The article provided advice as to the type of knife that should be used; the type of knife that should be avoided; the way in which a target can be hunted and attacked; and where to stab so as to maximise the number of fatalities. It concluded by saying: “The overall objective is to bring horror and misery to the enemies of Allah and to remind them that their efforts to wage war against Islam and the Muslims will only lead to more and more mujahidin appearing in their midst”.
Rumiyah 4 was stored on Mr Adam’ phone as a PDF under the file name ‘rome-magazine-4.pdf’. It was downloaded on 8 December 2016, the day following its release, and opened using the PDF viewer the same day. The file was deleted on 24 July 2017. It is notable that deletion occurred at exactly the same time (to the second) as the copy of Rumiyah 2 was removed from the phone. It cannot be said whether and how many times the copy of Rumiyah 4 was opened between 16 December 2016 and 24 July 2017, how long it was opened for or which pages were displayed.
The relevant section in this publication was a single page infographic, page 8. It showed an individual walking down a dark and lonely street. Another figure was shown in the foreground pulling a knife from his trouser waistband. Underneath the image was an annotated diagram of the ideal knife to use in a murderous attack, images of knives to avoid and suggestions of places on the human body that should be targeted: the windpipe, the heart, the liver, the carotid artery, the lungs or the kidneys. The bottom right hand side of the page suggested targets: the lone victim for the prolonged terror campaign; small groups for shocking terror; but large groups not advised.
In addition to the copies of Rumiyah 2 and 4, a copy of Rumiyah issue 1 was located on Mr Adam’s phone. The magazine had been published on 5 September and was downloaded on to the phone the same day. It is significant that Mr Adam had possession of each of the three magazines either the day of or the day following publication, which was consistent with ready access and/or active research. Rumiyah 1 was opened using a PDF viewing tool on 16 December 2016 (the same day that Rumiyah 4 was opened) and was deleted on 24 July 2017 (the same day that both Rumiyah 2 and 4 were deleted). The magazine contained articles that incited murderous attacks in Westernised countries, especially Australia. The introduction had a characteristic title: “Stand and Die upon That for Which Your Brothers Died”. The death of Daesh-spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was cited in order to rally fighters and the death of Abu Mansur Al-Muhajir, a Lebanese fighter from Melbourne, was used to encourage attacks in Australia.
In addition to the magazines, conversations were recovered from applications on Mr Adam’s phone. On 24 January 2016 he confided that he had been radicalised in his final year at university; on 26 July 2017 he told a correspondent that he thought Ali Tamimi, an individual in America convicted of terrorist offences, was “good”; and he also wrote that Sheikh Faisal, an extremist under investigation for terrorist offences, was his hero and had radicalised him. Messages were recovered in which Mr Adam appeared to have shared links to terrorist publications, albeit that the links had expired or been removed by internet providers by the time the police tried to capture them. One such link appears to have been the notorious Daesh video called ‘Flames of War’.
An examination of internet search history disclosed an active and persistent interest in Islamic extremism. Searches had been conducted in September 2017 for Daesh nasheeds (songs/chants) and videos, 'Islamic State in Marawi' and the site called ‘Jihadology’ which self-advertises as “A clearing house for jihadi primary source material”. Other documents of note included a guide to the Nice terror attacks from Inspire magazine; ‘A Criticism of Democracy’; and ‘Islamic State - The Apostate Vote’.
Mr Adam was interviewed twice on 14 February 2018. On each occasion he had the assistance of a solicitor. He answered “No comment” to all questions.
Mr Adam pleaded guilty to two offences contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (possession of information that would be of use to a terrorist). On 22 February 2019 he was sentenced at the Crown Court in Manchester to imprisonment for 30 months.
R v Lewis Ludlow
Ludlow is an Islamic convert who first came to police attention in 2010 when he attended demonstrations led by Anjem Choudhary and the more generic Al Muhajiroun (“ALM”) group. Between 2009 and 2017, he was arrested twice and released without charge. On both occasions his devices were found to contain Islamic extremist material. During 2017 he was referred to the Prevent programme. Further media was recovered from him at that time which contained extremist Islamic material, and demonstrated he had not disengaged from his extremist mindset.
In January 2018, the police secured evidence that Ludlow purchased a return ticket to travel from Heathrow to Manila (Philippines) on 3 February 2018. His travel arrangements included onward travel by domestic flight to Zamboanga, a city in the Southern Philippines identified by expert evidence as a 'potential site for violent jihad'. At the time, the FCO advised against all travel to the area, including and surrounding Zamboanga city on account of 'terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups'. On 3 February, Ludlow successfully travelled to the airport and checked-in. He was stopped and prevented from boarding his flight.
A search of his home address allowed the police to seize his phone which revealed he was in contact with an individual aligned with ISIS in the Philippines called Abu Yaqeen. Ludlow and the male were in near-daily contact in both open and secure encrypted communication applications. Ludlow was frustrated by the authorities' efforts which had both prevented him from travelling and caused his passport to be cancelled.
On 12 March 2018, Ludlow made his way to an Internet café in Victoria. CCTV showed him printing off a flag commonly associated with ISIS. On 15 March 2018, he purchased a mobile phone in his brother's name, which was later recovered in a storm drain near his home. The device was found to contain very secure encryption software. On 16 March 2018, Ludlow attended a different internet café on Portland Street in London where he was observed to research 'busy shopping centres'. The CCTV showed him printing off a flag commonly associated with ISIS on the top half an A4 page which he kept in his notebook.
The download of Ludlow's 'storm drain' phone revealed a number of hostile reconnaissance photographs of London, taken on the afternoon of 16 March 2018, predominantly in Oxford Street. The phone also contained a picture of the document that Ludlow printed off in the Internet café, accompanied by a written oath of allegiance to ISIS on the bottom half of the page.
On 21 March 2018, a number of torn up notes were recovered from Ludlow's bins which suggested that he was actively involved in preparing for a terrorist attack in London and that he had researched the logistics for such an attack. The first note listed potential attack sites whilst a second described the attack methodology which involved a vehicle in Oxford Street on a Saturday. Ludlow confirmed at court that he had also considered using an Improvised Explosive Device or 'truck bomb'. The note showed that he anticipated the attack would kill close to a hundred people, and that he envisaged it would be a coordinated attack and therefore involve more than one person.
The 'storm drain' phone also contained three videos in which Ludlow pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, expressed his hatred for the people of the UK, spoke of his desire to see the destruction of non-believers, and confirmed he was willing to die for his chosen cause.
In parallel to his attack-planning designs in March 2018, Ludlow was involved in a financing arrangement with Abu Yaqeen. Ludlow created a fictitious Facebook page which presented as a legitimate business selling antiques to the public. The account was in fact used as a vehicle to secure and send funds to the Philippines in order to finance ammunition, food and medical supplies for 'brothers' aligned with ISIS.
Separate communications between Abu Yaqeen and a law enforcement operative acting as a potential ISIS sympathiser, assisted in sheding light on Ludlow's coordination reference in his attack-planning note. These confirmed that Abu Yaqeen was looking for a second person to act as a lone actor with Ludlow in a possible UK attack, and that he intended for Ludlow and the law enforcement operative to work as a team to that end. In early April 2018, Abu Yaqeen became concerned he was under surveillance, thereby causing Ludlow to dispose of his phone in the storm drain by his address.
Ludlow was arrested shortly after this event on 18 April 2018. On 30 April 2018, he was charged with two counts of engaging in acts in preparation to commit terrorist acts contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and one count of entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism, contrary to section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
On 20 August 2018, Ludlow pleaded guilty to the Oxford Street plot charge and the funding arrangement charge. The last offence relating to his attempted travel to the Philippines was left to lie on file. A psychiatrist assessment dated 11 September 2018 found Ludlow suffered from ADHD, autism and depression. The Recorder of London found that Ludlow was intelligent and not someone that could be easily taken advantage of. He considered that Ludlow acted in concert with Abu Yaqeen, used sophisticated means to conceal his communications, and that he had acted as an enthusiastic participant in the UK attack plan that he intended to carry out. The Recorder sentenced Ludlow to life imprisonment with a 15-year minimum term of imprisonment for the UK attack plan offence, and to seven years' imprisonment for the funding arrangement offence, to run concurrently.
R v Aweys, Munye and Aweys
Ahmed Aweys (d.o.b 2/1/86), Abdulaziz Omer Munye (d.o.b 25/10/91) and Asma Aweys (d.o.b 21/6/88) were all part of the same family. Asma was married to Abdulaziz and the sister of Ahmed. They were all of a like mindset, supporting extremist Islamic idealogy. Over a period of years, until their arrest in 2018, they frequently spread or stored articles and information in support of Daesh/ISIS and their methods, both within the family and more widely, in chat groups.
Police found this evidence after analysing chat on the phone of Ahmed Aweys following his arrest and subsequent conviction for conspiracy to burgle a jewellery shop. In chat he had expressed the view that it was religiously acceptable to steal from unbelievers. The chat led police to search for and seize the phones of others in the family.
Ahmed was charged with three offences of dissemination of terrorist publications with intent, indirectly, to encourage acts of terrorism, contrary to s2 Terrorism Act 2006. Abdulaziz was charged with the same offence. Asma was charged with three offences of possession of material likely to be useful to a terrorist contrary to s58 Terrorism Act 2000.
In 2015 Ahmed had sent others internet links to Daesh magazines with the encouragement to read them. The magazines glorified Daesh and their methods, including terrorism. In 2017 he sent others a copy of a video produced on behalf of Daesh praising terrorist acts, minutes after it was released by Daesh. He entered into chat praising the participants. In 2018 he sent a further Daesh video praising their fighters and in particular women fighters, to the female members of his family including Asma. AM had further disseminated the 2017 video.
Asma Aweys had stored on her phone Daesh magazines released in 2016 and 2017. These particular magazines included specific detailed guidance on how to carry out different kinds of terrorist acts, such as vehicle attacks in crowded streets.
Although Ahmed and Abdulaziz answered ‘no comment’ in interview, each pleaded guilty to all charges at the first hearing in the Crown Court. Asma said in interview that the phone was not hers, and implied it was used by her husband Abdulaziz. Following the first hearing, the prosecution prepared a detailed chart of analysis of the use of the phone over the period that the documents were downloaded, proving that Asma was the only one who had ever used it. At the next hearing she pleaded guilty to all charges.
At sentencing, Asma tried to claim that the magazines had been stored for innocent purposes, but taking into account the evidence of her beliefs, as demonstrated in the chat, the sentencing judge, HHJ Dennis QC, rejected this. He sentenced Ahmed to a total of three years’ imprisonment, reduced to 25 months for his early guilty plea; Abdulaziz to 22 months’ imprisonment reduced to 15 months; and Asma to two years’ imprisonment reduced to 19 months for her later guilty pleas. Each was made subject to terrorism notification requirements for 10 years.
R v Ahmed Hussain
The defendant, Ahmed Hussain, was arrested in April 2018 and subsequently charged with four criminal offences. The first offence alleged the encouragement of terrorism contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006; the second and third related to the possession of documents that would be of practical use to a terrorist, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000; and the fourth that he had possessed terrorist publications with a view to disseminating them, thereby intending that terrorism would be encouraged, contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
The first offence was based on comments that Mr Hussain posted on his Facebook account between April 2017 and April 2018. The postings revealed the aggressive and intolerant mindset of an individual deeply committed to the terrorist organisation Daesh. His commitment was clearly demonstrated in at least three ways:
- By messages that glorified and celebrated acts of terrorism committed by Daesh or in their name;
- His hatred of other competing groups such as Al Qaeda; and
- His contempt both for “the kuffar” (unbelievers) and for moderate Muslims who he often labelled as “apostates”.
Examples of Mr Hussain’s messages include:
- Justification for the Manchester Arena bomb attack;
- Celebration of Daesh-inspired attacks in the UK, Iran and France;
- Repeated commentary on the progression of Daesh campaigns in Iraq and Syria;
- Celebration of the military successes enjoyed by Daesh forces in Iraq and Syria; and
- The glorification of terrorists who fought and died on behalf of the organisation.
The Facebook account also offered a window on to Mr Hussain’s private life, particularly his approach to parenting. In one post he wrote:
“I asked my son questions regarding his identity. What is your dad? “Muslim”
What language does your dad speak? “Arabic”
Where is your dad from? “Dawla” [meaning Islamic State]."
The post was written to demonstrate his resistance to British values and social integration. He concluded the post with the words, “Proud moment”. On another occasion he wrote that a teacher at his son’s nursery had put up the British flag: “Son: That flag is yukky, that isn’t my flag…my flag is black”. The reference to a black flag was a reference to the flag adopted by Daesh. The post was concluded with, “Proud moments of a father”. Videos found on the phone seized by police on arrest confirmed that he was training his son to give the Daesh salute and to view society through sectarian eyes. Reliance was placed on the videos by the Prosecution to demonstrate Mr Hussain’s mind-set.
The Facebook postings escalated in nature shortly before Mr Hussain’s arrest. On 17 March 2018 he wrote that he had access to every Daesh video from January 2017 and that anyone wanting one should write to him. On 6 April 2018 he wrote that he wanted a gun and a sword. On 8 April 2018 he wrote, “UK to ban posting knives to private residential addresses so buy your swords and daggers now”. Mr Hussain may have bought such a weapon himself, for a large dagger was found at his home address following his arrest.
Viewed in their entirety, the Prosecution argued that the Facebook messages amounted to the deliberate indirect encouragement of terrorism. Whilst Mr Hussain had not directly encouraged acts of violence, he had glorified such conduct in a manner that would have made many readers conclude it should be emulated. The comments clearly crossed the line from permissible (if controversial and extreme) speech to the encouragement of practical action that would have amounted to terrorism.
The second and third charges concerned Mr Hussain’s possession of the magazine Rumiyah issues 4 and 5. Rumiyah issue 4 contained an infographic that described the ideal knife to use in a murderous attack, the sort of knife to avoid, places on the human body to target to ensure death and groups of innocent civilians who could be attacked.
Issue 5 contained a three page article called, ‘Just Terror Tactics: Arson Attacks’. The guidance directed an individual to make a Molotov Cocktail or Napalm. The merits of such an attack were outlined before providing ‘recipes’, a list of possible targets and concluding with general encouragement: “The options are vast leaving no excuse for delay”. The aim of the article was to furnish a terrorist with information for the planning and execution of a deadly attack. Mr Hussain knowingly downloaded and kept these publications for more than a year.
The fourth charge concerned Mr Hussain’s possession of videos and his intention to share them with others. Messages retrieved from his phone showed that he had used the encrypted messaging application called Telegram to seek and then join a news channel that supplied him with Daesh propaganda, usually in the form of videos. Footage of Daesh forces fighting in the field, defeating their enemies and celebrating the spoils of war were regularly shown. Brutal executions of the group’s enemies were included, whether by beheading, burning or shooting. High profile attacks against targets in the West were featured. The purpose of the videos was to directly and indirectly encourage terrorism. Mr Husain collected and shared them, encouraging his partner and friends to watch them and disclosing that he had sat with his young son while the notorious execution video ‘Flames of War’ was played.
Besides the material that underpinned the charges, mind-set material was located on Mr Hussain’s personal mobile phone that confirmed the extent of his radicalisation and commitment to Daesh. He had committed himself to the views of a group that was intent on establishing a so-called Islamic State by killing, destroying or subjecting all around them. The destructive nature of the organisation’s creed was disclosed in a message written by Mr Hussain shortly before his arrest. He had been contemplating marriage, but wrote, “Completing your deen [creed] is not by getting married. Completing your deen is getting shahadah”. In this context, ‘shahadah’ meant obtaining paradise by conducting a suicide attack.
Mr Hussain was sentenced in January 2019 to a total sentence of 64 months' imprisonment.
R v Salim Wakil
Salim Wakil’s sister, Sumaiyyah, travelled to Syria in August 2014 (when aged 16) in order to join the Islamic State, a proscribed terrorist organisation. The contact Salim and other members of his family had had with Sumaiyyah demonstrated that she was in locations that were under the control of the Islamic State. It was apparent that Sumaiyyah was committed to her life within the Islamic State. Her Twitter account depicted the Islamic State flag being flown and her location was given as ‘The Islamic State’. During her time in Syria, she had got married twice, on both occasions to men who were fighters within the Islamic State.
Although Sumaiyyah had travelled to Syria in August 2014, it was not until early 2015 that the police became aware of this fact. In June 2015, they attended the Wakil family home and conducted a search of the address. A handwritten letter that had been left by Sumaiyyah, informing her family of her intentions in travelling to Syria, was recovered by the police. Following the initial attendance by police in June 2015, they made further visits to the family home and gave warnings about transferring to Sumaiyyah as she was making requests for money to be sent to her.
Notwithstanding the warnings by police as to the potential offences that could be committed Salim Wakil made arrangements to obtain the necessary funds. Payments were received into his bank account which he then withdrew in cash sums in the middle of February 2017. On 21 February 2017, Salim Wakil attended a Western Union outlet in the south of England with another individual and sent $3,000 through an intermediary in Lebanon to Sumaiyyah in the name of one of his friends. Following the transfer of the money, the defendant sent an SMS message to a contact telephone number that had been given to him by Sumaiyyah in advance of the transfer taking place.
The defendant was arrested by police on 5 December 2017 in relation to the transfer sent to Sumaiyyah. When interviewed under caution, he accepted that he had arranged for the money to be transferred with the assistance of his friend. He said that he had done this so that Sumaiyyah could return home by paying smugglers to transport her and her daughter out of Syria.
The defendant was subsequently charged with the offence of entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism, contrary to section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000. At the conclusion of all the evidence, counsel for Mr Wakil raised the potential defence of duress of circumstances. HHJ Poulet, QC considered all the evidence carefully and ruled that based on the lack of clear evidence that the defendant felt impelled or compelled to act in the way he did and on the time gap between his agreement to send the money and the final arrangement, that the evidence could not amount to duress of circumstance. Additionally, she noted that there was no evidence before the court of the situation in Syria in January 2017.
Following a trial at the Central Criminal Court, Wakil was unanimously convicted of the s.17 offence and after a Pre-Sentence Report was obtained the defendant was sentenced on 8 February 2019.
In her sentencing remarks HHJ Poulet QC said: “In mitigation I note that you are of wholly previous good character, that you have suffered with mental health issues which required treatment in 2013 as an inpatient when diagnosed as suffering with a psychosis. You remained on medication and are now fortunately stable. In addition you have a borderline IQ and are very compliant and biddable, your sister knew this and, I believe, she manipulated your understandable worries and concerns about her and your young niece. In my judgment this substantially reduces his responsibility. There can be no doubt that the offence passes the custody threshold. That said, I find ... substantial mitigation in that I accept that although you should and did recognise the risk that the money may be used for terrorist purposes, I accept you genuinely wanted to help your sister pay for smugglers to get her out of Syria. You accepted in evidence you were naive and almost certainly mistaken, but having looked carefully at the communications between them I accept you were genuine in your desire to bring your sister and her baby away from danger. I am satisfied that the defendant has had serious mental health problems in the past including a period as an inpatient to be treated for his psychosis. He is now compliant with his medication and relatively symptom free. He is suggestible and vulnerable. I can accept that neither you, nor your family, are in any way sympathetic to the terrorist cause. Despite these significant matters in mitigation I have a duty to follow the sentencing guidelines and to make it clear to others that sending money or other property which will support a terrorist cause cannot be tolerated and to make it clear that those who commit this type of offence must expect a substantial custodial sentence. In your case you although you were warned not to do this you sent the equivalent of £2500.”
The defendant was given a custodial sentence of 30 months’ imprisonment and a ten-year notification period.
R v Mohammad Hamza Siddiq
In August 2017, the police became aware of a post made by Mohammad Hamza Siddiq on his Facebook page. Mr Siddiq’s Facebook account was “open” at the time; meaning that any member of the public could see what was posted.
On 16 August 2017, Mr Siddiq made reference to jihad being “an obligation that cannot be abrogated” which was “not limited to defensive operations” but also to “establish and expand the Khilafah” (i.e. Caliphate). There was further reference to this act being the “peak of Islam and one of the greatest deeds” and that “this is our Aqeedah” (i.e. our creed).
A search warrant was executed at Mr Siddiq’s home address on 9 January 2018. A number of electronic devices were seized including a mobile phone and three USB sticks. Mr Siddiq was asked to provide the passcodes and/or encryption information for these devices but he refused. A notice under section 49 of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 was served on Mr Siddiq on 18 June 2018. The content of this notice required Mr Siddiq to provide the passcode and/or encryption information in relation to the aforementioned devices by 2 July 2018. Mr Siddiq did not provide the required information.
Mr Siddiq was requisitioned via post in respect of two offences: encouraging terrorism (contrary to section 1 of Terrorism Act 2006) and failing to comply with a section 49 notice (contrary to section 53 of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000). His case was listed for trial at Birmingham Crown Court on 18 February 2019. He pleaded guilty to both counts on the indictment on 20 February 2019. He was sentenced on 22 February 2019 to a total of four years six months’ imprisonment and made subject to a ten-year notification period under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008.
R v Adam Ephraim
On 4 September 2018, Mr Ephraim was stopped by officers at Stanstead airport in the international arrivals area; having entered the country on a flight from Stockholm, Sweden. He was selected for examination under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000.
During the examination and detention which followed, Mr Ephraim was asked for the PIN numbers in relation to his two mobile phones. He refused to provide the information citing privacy and that there were photographs/videos of a personal nature on the devices. Attempts were made, on a number of occasions, to reassure Mr Ephraim as to why the officers needed the PIN codes i.e. to establish whether he was or had been involved in the commission preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. Despite this, Mr Ephraim continued to refuse to provide the information.
Mr Ephraim was requisitioned via post to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in respect of one offence contrary to paragraph 18(1)(a) Schedule 7; Terrorism Act 2000 [wilfully failing to comply with a duty under the Schedule].
At the first hearing on 17 December 2018, Mr Ephraim pleaded guilty to the offence. He was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge.
2018 Toggle accordion
R v Khalid Omar Ali
On Thursday 27 April 2017, Khalid Ali was arrested by armed police officers in Whitehall in Westminster. When he was searched, he was found to be in possession of three knives of varying lengths which he had bought that day. Two knives were found in the right and left pockets of the jacket he was wearing. The longest of the three knives was removed from the waistband of his tracksuit trousers.
At this time the police were aware that in June 2011, Ali had told his family that he was travelling to Birmingham for a two-week plumbing job. He contacted his family some three weeks later to say that he was not coming home and his family reported him missing to the local police. There followed a period of five-and-a-half years when they had no contact whatsoever with him.
Initial enquiries revealed that on 10 June 2011, Ali travelled from the UK to Abu Dhabi. He then travelled to the Afghanistan region where he joined the Taliban (the ultra-conservative, Islamic insurgency in Afghanistan led from Pakistan), fighting local and coalition forces, including UK servicemen and women.
In January 2012, Afghan Security Forces brought a chest-sized box into the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) compound at Spin Boldak in South Kandahar province in Afghanistan. The box was found to contain bomb-making components, approximately 425ft of orange detonator cord, 199 detonators, 120 Remote Fob Trigger Type 2 (RFT2) receivers (Rx) and 30 Remote Fob Trigger Type 2 (RFT2) transmitters (Tx).
Five months later, on 6 July 2012, another cache was handed in to the 630th EOD, in Kandahar. This cache contained numerous improvised explosive device (IED) component parts including 9 pressure plates, 19 landmines, 104 9V batteries, 17 firing pins, 296 detonators, 2,500ft of detonating cord, 228 Remote Fob Trigger Type 2 receivers and 58 Remote Fob Trigger Type 2 transmitters.
The finds were examined by US laboratories initially in theatre and transported to the US for a through physical examination and comparison of biometric evidence.
On 2 November 2016, Ali landed into London Heathrow Airport and was examined under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (this is a procedure whereby persons travelling through the UK’s international ports and borders may be examined to determine whether they appear to be concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism). During this examination, fingerprints and DNA samples were obtained and shared with the FBI. Ali was then released.
On 4 December 2016, the Counter Terrorism Command received notification from the US that a positive match had been made between the fingerprints taken from Ali on 2 November 2016 when he was examined under Schedule 7 at Heathrow Airport and 37 separate latent marks lifted from IED component parts seized in caches in Afghanistan by coalition forces in 2012. These marks were recovered from areas protected from casual contact. The fingerprints were matched to the adhesive tape binding RFT2 transmitters.
He was charged with one count of preparing for acts of terrorism contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, and two counts of possessing explosive substance contrary to section 3 of the Explosive Substance Act 1883.
After trial he was convicted and on 20 July 2018 he was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum term of 40 years.
R v Desmond Christie
On 5 December 2017, Mr Christie was scheduled to fly from East Midlands Airport to Dublin. When passing through the Central Search Area he was asked screening questions about his travel by officers.
During the examination and detention which followed, Mr Christie refused to answer questions by the officers. These included questions about his living arrangements, travel arrangements, travel history, his family and political views.
Mr Christie was requisitioned via post to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in respect of one offence contrary to paragraph 18(1)(c) Schedule 7; Terrorism Act 2000 [wilfully obstructing or seeking to frustrate an examination under the Schedule].
At the first hearing on 28 June 2018, Mr Christie pleaded guilty to the offence. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge for three months.
R v Jonathan Jennings
Mr Jennings was a frequent user of the social media platform GAB under the profile name Blitzer@Blaznoah. GAB is a social media platform similar to Twitter. In March 2017, Mr Jennings was seen by other users of the platform to publish a number of offensive posts.
This was reported to the police who looked at the profile and found that over a six-month period a significant number of Mr Jennings’ postings contained derogatory references to Muslims and exhortations for them to be killed. There were also a number of other postings that were grossly offensive and which targeted a range of targets.
Mr Jennings was arrested and interviewed. He admitted the profile was his and he was responsible for all posts. He also indicated that he did not care if he offended anyone and the right to freedom of speech meant he could say what he liked.
Mr Jennings was charged with six offences of inciting religious hatred contrary to section 29C of the Public Order Act 1986 and four offences of sending a communication with intent to cause distress contrary to section1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
He pleaded guilty to all offences and on 9 August 2018 at Swansea Crown Court he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
R v Sam Saba
On 14 January 2018 Sam Saba arrived at John Lennon Airport from Barcelona. He was stopped by officers who detained him to carry out an examination under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act. Schedule 7 gives the police a range of powers that allow them to question an individual for the purposes of determining whether they are a terrorist.
Sam Saba refused to comply with the requests of the officers and refused to answer their questions. He was arrested and interviewed. He stated that he was annoyed at being stopped and had failed to comply because of this.
He was charged with one offence of wilfully failing to comply with a duty imposed under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 contrary to paragraph 18 of the same schedule.
He pleaded not guilty and was convicted after trial on 5 July 2018. He was sentenced to a six-month conditional discharge, a £10 fine, victim surcharge of £20 and costs of £600.
R v ‘HB’ (subject to anonymity order)
HB was subject to a Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act Notice [‘TPIM’] for one year from August 2018. Amongst other measures, this included a measure which prevented him from having in his possession, or using, any electronic communication devices save as permitted.
On 31 October 2018 HB was arrested in the street. Police searched him and found in his pockets an unauthorised smart phone that could connect to the internet, and an MP3 player that acted like a USB stick. Possessing these items meant that he had committed breaches of his TPIM under s.23 of the TPIM Act 2011, which carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.
He was charged with two these two breaches and pleaded guilty at Westminster MC.
Further work undertaken by police proved that he had regularly used the smartphone to connect to the internet and use chat apps. He had wiped all data from the phone about two weeks before arrest. Evidence demonstrated that before that he had used the encrypted messaging app Telegram on the phone. He was further charged with a further breach of his TPIM by his use of the phone over a period between the TPIM Notice and arrest. He also pleaded guilty to that offence.
He was sentenced to 16 months’ immediate imprisonment in total, based on a 24 month starting point with reduction for guilty pleas.
R v Vincent Potter
Mr Potter was charged with an offence contrary to s.114 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 as he sent sent a letter addressed to the Prime Minister intending to induce a belief in anyone that it contained a noxious substance. The letter said that it contained anthrax, although in fact it did not. Specialist postal workers intercepted the letter. Potter said in interview that he had not sent the letter, but ultimately pleaded guilty.
On the evidence the Crown did not put the case as one motivated by terrorism as defined by s.1 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was sentenced to 18 months’ immediate imprisonment in total, based on a 27 month starting point with reduction for guilty pleas.
R v Husnain Rashid
Between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017, Husnain Rashid used a number of online channels and chat groups to post an immense volume of terrorist-related material. The overarching aim of his activities was to provide a wealth of online material - an ‘e’ tool-kit for terrorism - for those preparing to commit acts of terror and to offer as much assistance, encouragement and support as he was able. He made numerous postings glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others and encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit successful terror attacks of their own.
His activities were prolific. They encompassed running an online channel called the ‘Lone Mujahid’ and uploading a number of resources to assist those planning their own attacks. His special interest was in assisting the ‘lone wolf’ attacker - the 'Lone Mujahid' - to commit attacks, but within that speciality he offered assistance with almost every conceivable type of attack capable of being launched by a single individual; attacks with poison, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals and knives. He was consulted online by those seeking advice on poisons and explosives and worked on the creation of his own online magazine, also to be named ‘The Lone Mujahid’.
Rashid was also linked, via the internet, to a terrorist fighting jihad in Syria. This was a male who was known, before his departure from the United Kingdom, as Omar Ali Hussain and on the internet as ‘Rapunzel’. Husnain Rashid offered Omar Ali Hussain, and those Hussain was fighting with, assistance to commit acts of terror by providing him with information useful on the battlefield, particularly with regard to using lasers to shoot down aircraft and to weakening enemy defences by jamming their missile systems. In return, the defendant sought assistance from Omar Ali Hussain on how the defendant himself could travel abroad to join in jihad for himself.
In addition, Rashid provided a constant flow of incitement and encouragement to others to commit acts of terror. He provided what he regarded as 'inspiration' for suitable targets for so-called 'lone wolf' terror attacks. Attacks in western countries were, in his eyes, the only acceptable alternative to jihad itself. His proposals were indiscriminate and made no distinction between adult and child, between members of fighting forces and civilians. His suggestions included injecting poison into supermarket ice-creams and targeting Prince George at his first school. They ranged across international borders and included train stations in Australia and Hallowe’en Parades in New York. Their common theme was what might feasibly be accomplished by one individual acting on their own, using accessible resources.
Husnain Rashid also used the internet to disseminate terrorist publications, with the intention thereby of providing encouragement or other inducements to others to commit acts of terror. These included four editions of the Knights of the Lone Jihad and the notorious terrorist publication, Inspire Magazine, which provides its readers with information on topics such as bomb-making.
During this period, he also sought to travel overseas with the intention of fighting jihad in Islamic State-controlled territories. To this end, he communicated with individuals he believed to be in Islamic State territory, seeking advice on how successfully to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation - or tazkiyah - necessary to join a fighting group of the Islamic State.
His activities came to light following monitoring of postings on the Lone Mujahid channel. This led to the attendance of the police at the defendant’s home address and a neighbouring address associated with him, in the town of Nelson, Lancashire. When the police arrived to arrest him, the defendant’s first reaction was to try and dispose of incriminating evidence. To this end, he ran into the back yard of the address and threw a mobile phone towards the back yard of the neighbouring address, hoping, no doubt, to recover the item later. Unfortunately for Mr Rashid, his actions were spotted by police officers and the device was recovered.
This mobile phone proved to be the source of a vast amount of terrorist-related material when it was subsequently interrogated by specialist officers.
A number of other electronic devices were recovered from the two addresses which are associated with the defendant. Despite formal requests, both written and oral, to do so Husnain Rashid refused to provide the PIN codes required to access two of these devices.
He was charged with three offences of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006, one offence of encouraging terrorism, contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, two offences of disseminating a terrorist publication, contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and one offence contrary to section 53 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
After the jury had been sworn in and the Prosecution had concluded opening its case over the course of two days, Husnain Rashid pleaded guilty to the three offences contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and the offence of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006. It was agreed that the facts of the charges contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 would be included in the basis for his guilty pleas. In those circumstances, it was not in the public interest to proceed with the trial for the remaining charge contrary to section 53 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Mr Rashid was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years, concurrent on each of the section 5 charges inclusive. He was further sentenced to four-and-a-half years' imprisonment for the section 1 charge, to run concurrent.
R v Sudesh Amman
Sudesh Mamoor Faraz Amman was 17 years of age at the time of committing his earliest offences and was living at home with his mother and younger siblings. He came to the attention of police in April 2018 when officers were made aware of an online posting containing extremist material. It was identified that the original extremist material posted on Telegram was done so by the account holder @strangertothisworld. Further enquiries showed that the user of the account was Sudesh Anman and the decision was taken to arrest him.
Analysis of his electronic media and communications disclosed that he had downloaded or otherwise caused to be created various documents concerned with making explosives, carrying out terrorist attacks and weaponry. It became clear that he had discussed with his family, friends and girlfriend his strong and often extreme views on jihad, the kuffar, and his desire to carry out a terrorist attack. Much of his fascination with conducting an attack was focused on using a knife but reference was also made to committing acid attacks on mopeds.
A number of electronic documents were found on his devices which encouraged, or were capable of facilitating, violent acts. Whilst not all specifically referenced terrorism or showed a direct link to Islamic extremism, given the context in which they were possessed together with his own interest in an attack and his extremist beliefs (and his willingness to share these beliefs and documents with others), they were of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
In messages with his siblings, Anman can be seen promoting extremist ideology. For example he sends numerous images on 25 November 2017 via WhatsApp which depict child fighters and what appears to be IS or IS-inspired propaganda. On 12 December 2017 he posts an image of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi (ISIS leader) on the WhatsApp ‘La familia’ group and tells his brother in subsequent discussion that ISIS still exists and is ‘everywhere’, ‘can never die’ and that ‘the islamic state is here to stay’ and describes ‘reward from jihad’. He continues in the same chat to talk about Muslims in London being massacred and put in conditions worse than concentration camps. He expresses the belief that Jews are doing worse to Muslims and suggests that as Yazidi women are slaves the Quran makes it permissible to rape them.
On 1 January 2018, shortly after posting a link to the Daesh publication ‘Inspire 16’, he describes in a discussion about school with his sibling how he would ‘rather blow myself up’ and how he wants to know ‘how to make bombs’. On 3 January 2018 he posts onto the ‘La Familia’ group an image of a young man with a large knife. On 14 January 2018 he posts into the ‘La familia’ group an image of text attributed to ‘Sheikh Faisal’ (aka convicted extremist Trevor Forrest). Images on the WhatsApp ‘La familia’ group appear to show his siblings in various poses reminiscent of IS-inspired supporters such as one finger salutes and wielding weaponry.
He was charged on 24 May 2018 with offences contrary to s58 Terrorism Act 2000 in relation to his possession of five recognised terrorism-related documents.
He was also charged with offences of dissemination of a terrorism publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in relation to providing links to others to nine recognised terrorism-related publications.
On 7 November 2018 he pleaded guilty to all but three of the charges which are to lie on file and was sentenced to a total of 3 years’ 4 months’ imprisonment on 17 December 2018.
R v Abdulraham Alcharbati
Abdulraham Alcharbati was born in Syria; he has leave to remain in the United Kingdom until 2019.
On 9 March 2017, the police made copies of Mr Alcharbati’s Facebook profile pages between 24 January and 26 February 2017. He had created 386 different posts during this period. Many of them were in Arabic which was his native tongue. These posts were examined; 70 were found to refer directly to Islamic State and 40 posts referred directly to martyrdom. The posts as a whole demonstrated that he supported the aims of Islamic State, a proscribed terrorist organisation, and wished to encourage others to support his view and commit terrorist acts either in the name of Islamic State or for motives similar to those advanced by the group.
Police had particular concerns about links to videos posted by Mr Alcharbati between 01:47 and 10:49 on the morning of Wednesday 8 February 2017. When the officers followed these links they found footage clearly produced by, or linked to, Islamic State and included footage of combat, executions, suicide operations and about the lives of children within the fiefdom of the Islamic State.
Mr Alcharbati was repeatedly warned by Facebook that he was posting material that contravened Facebook’s guidelines and kept having his account suspended as a result. Nonetheless, he was able to convince Facebook to re-instate his account before carrying on in exactly the same was as before. The account was finally, and permanently, closed by Facebook in mid-March 2017, just over a month after he had posted the video links.
On Wednesday 3 May 2017 officers arrested Mr Alcharbati for offences of encouraging terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications.
Whilst he was at the police station, his home was searched and police found his mobile phone. This was subsequently analysed and found to contain significant quantities of Islamic extremist and bomb-making related material. One such document was 215 pages long and had been manually downloaded from the Internet by the user of the phone at 22:53:04 on 8 March 2017. The document was stored in the ‘Download’ folder of the phone. Due to the nature of the material that was found on Mr Alcharbati’s phone he was arrested on 22 June 2017.
He was interviewed and denied that he held extremist views and stated that he was merely trying to report news from the Middle East. Indeed, he went as far as saying that he condemned terrorism and only posted the material to discourage others from committing such acts. He did, however, accept posting all that could be found on his Facebook page, including the links, and downloading the bomb-making manual.
He was charged with one charge of possessing a document which was likely to be useful to a person committing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and six charges dissemination of a terrorism publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 by posting links to the following:
- an ISIS-inspired video showing an attack on three males
- an ISIS-inspired video encouraging people to join the caliphate
- an ISIS-inspired video glorifying the lives of children living under ISIS rule and training to fight
- an ISIS-inspired video encouraging people to become martyrs
- an ISIS-inspired video encouraging people to become suicide bomber
- an ISIS-inspired video celebrating suicide operations
and at the time of doing so he intended an effect of his conduct to be a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, or was reckless as to whether his conduct would have that effect.
He was found guilty after trial on 19 October 2018 and sentenced on 14 December 2018 to seven years’ imprisonment for the section 58 offence and five years’ imprisonment for the section 2 offences with a 15-year notification period.
R v Atiq Ahmed
On 3 November 2017 Atiq Ahmed was in police custody for a public order offence. His mobile telephone had been seized and he was asked for the PIN code. Mr. Ahmed said:
“I’ve got nothing to hide anyway. There’s knowledge of like loads of stuff. Mostly it’s Islamic stuff. It’s got a bit of knowledge about Islamic State and a bit of knowledge about the Nazis as well. It’s got knowledge of Satan as well, but mostly it’s just Islamic knowledge. Like I said, it’s just for research, education, study and academics”.
On 19 December 2017 counter terrorism police went to Mr Ahmed’s address and arrested him. His house was searched and a Lenovo laptop found in the kitchen bin. Expert examination of the tablet found that in a folder labelled ‘Academic’ there were 13 issues of the Islamic State magazine called ‘Rumiyah’.
All of the 13 files had a creation date of 13 December 2017 between 21:03:13 and 20:04:44, consistent with having been downloaded together. All of the documents had a ‘last accessed’ date of 19 December 2017.
‘Rumiyah’ magazine is a professionally produced English-language terrorist propaganda magazine. Five of the 13 publication on Mr Ahmed’s tablet contained articles in a series called ‘Just Terror Tactics’. More specifically:
- Edition 2 had an article dedicated to ‘lone wolf’ knife attacks. It described the best type of knife to use in an attack, the best type of location to carry out an attack, where to strike with the knife, how to ensure the maximum terror and how to ensure the attack would be credited to Islamic State.
- Edition 3 encouraged vehicle attacks. It described the most efficient way of carrying out a vehicle attack, the best vehicles to use, preparation and planning, the best targets, how to carry out the attack, secondary weapons and how to ensure the attack would be credited to Islamic State.
- Edition 4 had an infographic focused on knife attacks. It showed the sort of knives to be used or avoided, parts of the human body to strike in order to cause fatal injury and the sorts of people to attack in order to cause maximum terror.
- Edition 5 focused on arson attacks. It described how to make Molotov cocktails, how to make napalm, ideal target locations, how to execute the attacks and how to ensure the attack will be credited to Islamic State.
- Edition 9 contained guidance on hostage-taking. It described the strategy of taking hostages for terrorist purposes, how to acquire firearms for such an operation, the best locations to seize hostages, the sort of deception that could be used to lure in unsuspecting victims, how to overpower and sustain a hostage taking exercise and, ultimately, the use of the hostage as a human shield. Page 56 of the same edition was an infographic about how to conduct a truck attack, including the best vehicle for the attack and how to acquire one.
When interviewed about the magazines Mr Ahmed said that the tablet was “basically my Islamic knowledge of what’s happening in Syria, Iraq…Books that I’ve not even read yet like Dabiq books that are off the internet I’ve downloaded and there’s another book, Rumiyah book”. He accepted that the Rumiyah magazines were Islamic State material, that they could be dangerous and that he had quickly scanned through them. However, he denied reading the ‘Just Terror Tactic’ articles and asserted that he was not a terrorist.
On 20 December 2017 Mr Ahmed was charged with five offences contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in that he was knowingly in possession of material that would be of practical use to a terrorist. He pleaded guilty to each of the offences on 23 April 2017.He was sentenced to 54 months’ imprisonment. A Criminal Behaviour Order was also imposed to limit his future access to the internet
The convictions were not Mr Ahmed’s first manifestations of extremism. On 30 October 2015 he pleaded guilty to two offences contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and was sentenced to a 30-month custodial sentence. He had disseminated two Islamic State publications, being reckless as to whether they would encourage terrorism. Subsequent to his release on licence he was twice recalled, once for threatening to cut off the heads of infidels. On 30 November 2017 he had admitted a public order offence after attending a local school and telling pupils in the playground that they were unbelievers and would burn in hell.
R v Arbias Thaqi
Arbias Thaqi was referred to the police in October 2016 by persons personally acquainted with him. They were concerned that he had been recruited and radicalised by the terrorist organisation Daesh/Islamic State. They also expressed the fear that he was being used to recruit others and presented a note, written by him, that disclosed a secret meeting that he had arranged with four friends.
In light of this information he was taken to a local police station. He said that the meeting he had arranged was for an innocent purpose. However, he also admitted that he had looked at videos and online postings about Syria. He denied supporting Daesh or any other extremist group.
Attempts were made to refer him to a de-radicalisation programme. However, messages subsequently recovered from his electronic devices showed that he had resisted such intervention and derided those who tried to help him. For example, on 6 December 2017 he responded to the question from a friend, “How are you”, in the following terms:
“I just had a 2 hours conversation with a coconut mozlem which works with the government…He tried to ‘deradicalise’ me. I lost count on the amount of statements of kufr [unbelief] that he made…They think we’re gunna stop following the haqq [truth] out of fear of them or of ignorance”.
Arbias Thaqi was arrested in September 2017 on suspicion of engaging in offences related to terrorism. The evidence was chiefly derived from his electronic devices, though significant correspondence was also found on his Facebook account. The evidence spanned the period 2016-17 and therefore included the duration of his involvement with the de-radicalisation programme. Messages sent by him in November 2016 suggested that he wanted to travel to Syria to fight with Daesh forces. On 23 November he wrote that he was ready to travel and asked the recipient of the message, “What do you think I’m joining Dawla for?” The following day another contact challenged him, “You want to join ISIS? You want to be part of a terrorist organisation? They already kill innocents, they bomb places where there are kids…”. Arbias responded, “Terrorist according to whom? The West?” He went on to offer religious justification for the killing of civilians.
On 6 December 2017 Arbias Thaqi informed a friend that his “decision to go” was emotional but that he knew it was an obligation on him. Within ten days he had used his iPhone to obtain the publication, ‘Hijrah to the Islamic State’. This 50-page magazine provided guidance on what to pack, who to contact and where to go in order to get into Syria. It also included the stories of those who had successfully made the journey. Though he did not travel at that stage, he evidently had a lingering interest in such a venture for in April 2017 he was writing to a new acquaintance, “…I may make H[ijrah] soon to Sinai, Egypt and then get smuggled to Sham [Syria]…I am supposed to be going any week now or next week. I’m awaiting a message from that brother that already went and then I’ll meet him at Sinai with some people from Dawlah [Daesh] and then get smuggled over…”.
A review of his Facebook account showed that in May 2017 he had posted a link to a Daesh magazine called Rumiyah and videos that glorified and celebrated acts of war perpetrated in the name of the organisation. The magazine contained sections called ‘Just Terror Tactics’ that gave advice on how to conduct a hostage-taking operation and how to engage in a truck attack. The purpose of each video was to depict, justify and encourage acts of terrorism and one purpose of the magazines was to provide recipients with the practical guidance that would allow them to carry out an attack.
The continued review of electronic devices showed that Arbias Thaqi had sent many similar publications to contacts on his phone. He sent issues 1 and 3 of Rumiyah magazine to a contact named ‘Ayman’ with the message, “These are a beneficial read. But obviously don’t read them in public or keep them saved”. He shared Daesh videos that glorified violence in the name of religion such as ‘The Holocaust of Majus’; ‘The Battles of Sacrifice’; ‘The Caravan of Martyrs’; and ‘The Sound of Terror’. He also sent a magazine authored by Al Qaeda called ‘Inspire’ to a friend. Amongst other information it explained how to construct a car bomb.
Arbias Thaqi was a deeply radicalised individual who intended an effect of his conduct to be the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. This argument was fortified, amongst other evidence, by the following chat threads:
- In May 2017, he responded to the Manchester Arena bombing by writing to a friend, “Allahu Akbar [Allah is great], many were killed and around 120 injured”.
- In June 2017 he wrote to an acquaintance, “Not every knife attack is a few stabs. Some are beheadings done on the road. Depends on the preference of the attacker. I’d personally go for a nice cut on the throat, it’s quick and effective…I like how Jihadi John does it”.
- In August 2017 a friend posted a media report about the Barcelona terror attack. Arbias wrote, “Allahu Akbar” [Allah is great], to which his friend replied, “Another land bites the dust…more to come Insha Allah [Allah willing]”.
During the course of his police interviews Arbias Thaqi gave various accounts. He initially indicated an interest in the conflict in the Middle East and said that he obtained material further to that interest. He later said that he wanted to know more about the theological, religious, political and social aspects of Islam and the conflict. He concluded by admitting that the evidence thoroughly embarrassed him and gave cause for regret, but that he did not intend to travel to Syria or engage in the conduct described in his messages.
On 16 February 2018, Arbias Thaqi pleaded guilty to two offences of possession of a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and six offences of dissemination of a terrorism publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was aged 18 years, having first been brought before the Court when aged 17. He initially argued that he had merely foreseen a risk that persons viewing his online publications would be encouraged to commit terrorism but, by the date of sentence, had accepted that he intended terrorism to be encouraged. On 5 June 2018 he was sentenced to an 18 month Detention and Training Order. Alongside the sentence that was imposed the Court made a Criminal Behaviour Order. The Order limited Arbias’s use of computers, social media and the internet and prohibited contact with certain named individuals. The Court concluded that his conduct would have caused harassment alarm or distress to members of the public and that the Order was both necessary and a proportionate means of preventing further similar misconduct.
R v Muzaffar Abdullah
On 13 March 2018 Muzaffar Abdullah arrived at London Heathrow airport, having taken a flight from Cairo in Egypt. He was travelling with his three children and the group made their way to the immigration desks in the arrivals hall. Police officers from the Counter Terrorism Command were present in the arrivals hall and Mr Abdullah was selected for an examination under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000.
Schedule 7 empowers accredited officers to stop, examine and search travellers at UK ports in order to determine whether they are or have been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. There is an obligation on the individual concerned to answer questions and to furnish the information requested of them. The powers have been described as a “preliminary power of enquiry in aid of the prevention of terrorism…expressly provided in order to assist officers stationed at ports and borders to make counter-terrorism inquiries of any person entering or leaving the country”.
When Mr Abdullah reached the immigration desk a UK Border Force officer asked him if the others with him were his children. Mr Abdullah seemed agitated and answered abruptly. He was then approached by the examining police officer who identified himself and told Mr Abdullah that he would be spoken to once he had passed through immigration controls; assurance was provided that the conversation would not take long. The reaction was obstructive: Mr Abdullah said he would not speak to officers and would not go with them. The officer again stated that they would need to speak but was met with the same reaction. Mr Abdullah was then handed a public information leaflet and told that he was being detained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000; he was warned that he had an obligation to speak to the officer.
Rather than comply with this instruction, Mr Abdullah walked away. He moved quickly across the immigration hall and took hold of a vacant podium. He then started shouting loudly and repeatedly, “What are you detaining me for?” The loud exclamations demonstrated that he knew he was being detained. The police officer tried to calm him but he refused to calm down and began to speak incoherently. He ignored instructions to let go of the podium and continued to shout. Due to this behaviour and the clearly demonstrated unwillingness to comply, one of the police officers placed a handcuff onto Mr Abdullah’s left wrist. However, he continued to hold onto the podium. Other police officers present in the terminal then tried to assist but Mr Abdullah continued to hold firmly onto the podium. His behaviour meant that he had to be physically restrained on the floor. Once there he continued to resist, shouting that he could not breathe and ignoring the clear and calm instructions that were being given. Eventually two sets of handcuffs were applied to allow the officers to gain control of the situation. Mr Abdullah was then lifted to his feet and escorted into a private interview room. He was read the formal Notice of Detention document in full. The Notice explained to him his duties and his rights under Schedule 7. He was invited to sign the document but refused to do so. He was warned that he would be arrested if he failed to comply with his Schedule 7 duties. He responded by asking for the handcuffs to be removed and stated that he would stay calm. As a measure to reduce the tension in the situation, the officers agreed to remove the handcuffs. Mr Abdullah was again informed of his rights and warned that if he did not comply he would be arrested. However, he refused to answer any questions and stated that he would not be answering any further questions. He said “I have nothing to explain to you or talk to you about.” As a result, he was arrested under paragraph 18 of Schedule 7.
The following day Mr Abdullah was interviewed under caution. In that interview, he stated that he had been approached by a police officer who said that they needed to speak to him. He said that he informed them he was with his three children and so could not speak, to which the officer said they would take the children away. That annoyed him. He had grabbed the desk but said that he had been kicked by the officers and laid onto the floor. His children were screaming and crying. He denied being given a leaflet about Schedule 7 but accepted that he was given a piece of paper to sign. He explained that he had been stopped many times under Schedule 7 and was fully aware of the obligations that it imposed on him. However, on this occasion, he was with his children and he was concerned for them. He stated that he had been abroad for business and did not have to explain why he was travelling.
Mr Abdullah was charged with an offence of wilfully obstructing a search or examination under Schedule 7. During the course of the trial he argued that the search was unlawful: the officers were not acting in order to determine whether he was or had been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; had not provided him with a leaflet telling him that he was being detained under Schedule 7; and did not have grounds to detain him. On each ground the Court found against Mr Abdullah and convicted him of the offence: the judge accepted the evidence of the police officers that they had been acting for the statutory purpose, that they had provided the required information and that the statute afforded them grounds to detain Mr Abdullah. A six-month conditional discharge was imposed by way of sentence. Mr Abdullah subsequently appealed his conviction but, following a re-hearing of all the evidence, the Appeal was refused and the conviction upheld.
R v Christopher Partington
Shortly after Partington was arrested on 29 April 2018, his phone was seized, examined, and found to contain a significant amount of material that was likely to be of use to a terrorist. Of the recovered publications, one was entitled “Poor Man’s James Bond” and consisted of a 479-page manual which included advice on do-it-yourself explosives, associated electronics, how to make automatic weapons, unarmed combat and poisons. Other publications found on his phone centred on the making of booby traps, black powder and explosives. A number of items were also recovered from addresses linked to Partington, which included two shotgun cartridges.
Partington was charged with seven offences of collecting information likely to be of use to a terrorist, contrary to section 58(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2000 and one offence of being illegally in possession of shotgun cartridges, contrary to section 21(2) of the Firearms Act 1968.
Evidence in the form of images stored on his devices, internet searches and the comments he made to various criminal justice bodies, demonstrated that Partington was a historic supporter of the IRA, and that he had been actively searching and storing the above described publications. In interview, Partington denied being a terrorist or a member of the IRA, but eventually accepted collecting and reading all the identified documents, although only on the basis that he was ‘curious’ and ‘bored’.
Partington pleaded guilty to having six different publications that could have been of use to anyone plotting a terror attack, and to illegally having shotgun cartridges (an earlier conviction meant he could not lawfully have such items for five years after his release from prison for the earlier offence).
At the sentencing Hearing at Manchester Crown Court on 7 December 2018, HHJ Stockdale QC stated that based on the abundance of evidence of a terrorist motivation and repeated access to terrorist materials, the starting point for the offences was four years’ imprisonment. Partington was given credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on each of the six terrorist publication counts (to be served concurrently) and two months’ imprisonment for the shotgun cartridges count (to be served consecutively). A 10-year terrorism notification requirement was also imposed.
R v Andrew Littlefair
The day after the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market on 3 June 2017, Mr Littlefair posted messages on his Facebook page over a five hour period threatening serious violence to all Muslims, urging people to ‘fight back’, to burn mosques and to burn the Qur’an.
Mr Littlefair’s Facebook account had no privacy settings. His messages were visible to the public and prompted ‘likes’ or replies from other people. Despite a request from a member of the public, Mr Littlefair refused to remove the offending posts.
He was subsequently interviewed by the police. By that time, he had created a new Facebook account which he used to publish a purported apology. However, his original Facebook page and the offensive comments remained visible and accessible to all.
He was charged with six offences of incitement to stir up religious hatred contrary to Section 29C Public Order Act 1986 and on 19 February 2018, he was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court to 20 months’ imprisonment for these six offences.
At the sentencing hearing, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, HHJ Bourn-Arton QC, made the following observations:
- The offences attracted a starting point of 30 months’ imprisonment. Mr Littlefair was given credit for his guilty pleas at the first hearing at Cleveland Magistrates’ Court.
- The aggravating features of the case were the comments which were ‘vile postings of a racist’; the period of time the posts were created and remained visible on a Facebook page accessible to the public and the background circumstances and timing of the offences.
- The atrocities on 22 May, (the date of the bomb attack at Manchester Arena), and 3 June 2017 ‘went to the heart of our democracy, were appalling events and resulted in a lot of ill feeling and emotion. [It was] a time for people to be calm in the true traditions of this country’.
The Judge also awarded a payment of £250.00 from public funds to the member of the public who reported the original comments to the police.
R v Zana Abbas Sulieman
Zana Abbas Sulieman pleaded guilty to eight terrorism-related offences and was sentenced on 22 February 2018 to nine years’ imprisonment with an additional extended licence period of five years. The offences were contrary to sections 57 and 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and sections 1 and 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
A significant part of the rise of the terrorist organisation Islamic State (Daesh) has been the use made by it and by its supporters of propaganda on social and digital media. Social networking sites such as Facebook and private messenger applications such as Facebook Messenger and Telegram have been used to peddle the Daesh message and to radicalise (or further radicalise) potential supporters in the United Kingdom and abroad. Propaganda disseminated by these means has undoubtedly been an effective recruiting sergeant.
Mr Sulieman used a series of ‘weaponised’ Facebook accounts - accounts with no legitimate purpose - to disseminate Daesh propaganda. In one respect, however, he went further: he stored and then shared a video that instructed the viewer, in both Arabic and English, how to make a viable explosive device.
In all, Mr Sulieman used three Facebook accounts to disseminate terrorist propaganda. Two accounts contained Daesh videos that glorified and celebrated acts of murderous violence. These videos showed fighters in combat; enemies being shot and mutilated; and the spoils of battle being gathered in triumph. Different videos would adopt different themes; suicide attacks featured prominently, particular involving young men driving vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices into army checkpoints before detonating them in order to kill, injure, maim and terrify their opponents. Such actions were depicted as heroic and praiseworthy.
The third Facebook account was the most potent. Besides propaganda videos that directly encouraged acts of terrorism (whether by travelling to fight in a war zone or by conducting lone-wolf style attacks), the site also contained a magazine that urged radicalised individuals to target diplomats and embassies. Mr Sulieman added comments when he posted each item. He celebrated suicide attacks; advertised numbers of enemy soldiers who had been killed; and indicated that the fight would continue until all judgment and law was subjected to Islam.
A number of individuals who had known Mr Sulieman before his arrest had noticed how much time he spent on his phone. He was heard to make worrying comments, including that he thought Bin Laden was fighting for Islam. He also tried to show them some of the videos that he was watching. They told him that he should not be watching such material and should delete it from his phone.
The video that described how to make a bomb was posted on Facebook with the comment, “Making explosives is very important for local operations”. The publication was assessed by experts from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory. They concluded that it provided sufficient instructional information for use in the manufacture of the high explosive substance TATP; a viable detonator; and their combined use in the construction of an explosive device. The size of the device would vary depending on the amount of TATP that was manufactured but the example in the video allowed a quantity to be made sufficient to cause really serious injury or death. As well as posting the video on Facebook, evidence was found that Mr Sulieman sent it via Facebook Messenger to at least three individuals who wanted to manufacture explosives. By entering his plea of guilty he accepted that there was a reasonable suspicion that he intended the instructions to be used for the purpose of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
R v Sandeep Samra
Sandeep Samra Kaur is an 18-year-old female who lived with her parents and siblings. She is British born of Indian descent and comes from a Sikh family. She is believed to have converted to Islam and ‘self-radicalised’ in 2015. At trial she said that the conversion took place when she completed a form online.
Following concerns regarding Miss Samra’s behaviour and her beliefs, her father surrendered her passport and her mobile phone to officers who attended the home address on 6 October 2015.A review of the mobile phone found a substantial amount of material that would be considered to be supportive of Daesh and which showed a desire to travel to Syria existed as far back as 2015.
On 16 September 2016 Staffordshire and West Midlands Police Joint Legal Services sent a letter to Miss Samra’s father informing him that her passport had been returned to the UK Passport Agency. On 27 September 2016 Miss Samra received a letter from HM Passport Office informing her that her passport had been cancelled as it had been determined that it was not in the public interest for her to hold one. The reason given to Miss Samra was that “it is believed that you have an intention to travel to Daesh-controlled territory in order to join Daesh. Should you do so, it is assessed that you would engage in terrorism-related activities on Daesh behalf, which would constitute a threat to the national security of the United Kingdom”.
Following on from this there was intervention through the Prevent programme, however this eventually ceased.
On 22 June 2017 Miss Samra delivered by hand an application for a new passport to HM Passport Office. Miss Samra enclosed a hand-written letter to the Home Office explaining that her passport had been cancelled and that all allegations against her ‘had been dropped’. The application had not been countersigned. Enquiries show that Miss Samra repeatedly contacted her old school to request them to countersign the application; this request was declined.
On 6 July 2017 Miss Samra was arrested under the PACE provisions on suspicion of an offence contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (dissemination of terrorist material). On arrest a Samsung mobile phone was seized, within which the investigation team found messages on both the Telegram and WhatsApp messaging platforms indicating that Miss Samra was making plans to travel to Syria as she reached out to others for assistance for fake documentation and suggested routes. As the chat progressed the extreme views of Miss Samra became more apparent along with her intentions for travel. One person said to her that ‘the “most important thing is that we enter Paradise” and she responded “May Allah give you Shahadah (martyrdom) and high status in Paradise”. The messaging culminated with Miss Samra making her intentions for travelling to Syria clear when she says that she is going for death.
In addition to the above material there was a plethora of material on Miss Samra’s phones that is pro-Islamic and supportive of Daesh.
Miss Samra was arrested on 18 July 2017 under on suspicion of an offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. In interview she submitted a prepared statement in which she essentially admitted the conversations had taken place but said that they were fantasy and she did not mean them, she simply wanted to leave the UK to start a new life.
On 24 June 2017 Miss Samra was charged with one offence contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006.
On 23 January 2018 (the day of trial) she pleaded guilty. This plea was on the basis that it was her intention to travel to Syria as a nurse and that she accepted that as a nurse in the Islamic State, she would have been committing a terrorist act. Miss Samra accepted that she attempted to travel to Syria by applying for a passport and that she sought advice on travel to Syria and obtaining false identity documents. The basis was rejected and the case proceeded to a trial of issue, namely whether she intended only to support ISIS as a nurse or whether she intended to engage in violence herself. The Hon. Mr Justice Inman QC found in the Crown’s favour. Sandeep Samra was sentenced on 26 January 2018 to three-and-a-half years in a young offenders’ institute, 12 months’ licence period and a 10-year Terrorism Notification order.
R v Rabar Mala
Rabar Faisal Mala is an Iraqi-born Kurd and a failed asylum seeker, having had his application for indefinite leave to remain rejected in 2008. Part of his immigration requirements were to report to an immigration official on 31/3/2014 and live at 28 Scholes, Wigan, WN1 3QJ. He failed to adhere to these requirements.
At the time of arrest Mr Mala had been working for some four years as a car valet using his brother’s details.
In the course of the search of his home address, officers seized several mobile telephones and a large number of SIM cards, many of which had Arabic or Kurdish words written upon them. Mr Mala used those mobile telephones and SIM cards to communicate with third parties, disseminate Islamist material to those third parties and others, and facilitated those third parties activating and operating their own social media and messaging accounts which included propagating Islamic State propaganda. The purpose of these activities was to promote, reinforce and encourage support and activities of the proscribed organisation, Islamic State, and related entities.
The prosecution case was based upon the following elements:
- analysis of his communications with third parties in which he facilitated their ability to open accounts, disseminated material to them and discussed the recording and promotion of IS material;
- examples of social media accounts opened by those third parties as facilitated by the defendant;
- two YouTube videos uploaded (and apparently edited) by him;
- mindset material recovered from his digital media, primarily his telephone.
Mr Mala communicated with the third parties primarily via Telegram (an encrypted messaging service). In the course of those communications, the third parties sometimes made reference to being abroad interpreted as being in or close to the Islamic State. The IP addresses for those third parties included Iraq and Turkey. In the course of communications, there were repeated discussions about accounts being closed by the content providers such as Facebook.
Mr Mala adopted the following process when facilitating opening of accounts:
- a third party would contact him for help in opening and activating a social media account or messaging channel/account. Often, the need was due to the existing account(s) being blocked by the content provider;
- he would obtain a SIM card and use it in his one of his UK mobile telephones and send to the third party the mobile telephone number;
- The third party would use that mobile telephone number to open a social media/messaging account. The content provider would text an activation code to that mobile number (SIM) which he would receive and pass on to the third party;
- the third party activated and, according to communications, opened and used the account;
- he provided advice and assistance if any issues arose.
On occasion, Mr Mala wrote the name of the third party on the SIM card (presumably to assist remembering who had which card) which he kept at his address. On occasion, he sent an image of the SIM with name on to the third party. Of the 360 SIM cards, some 141 had handwritten names on the back.
Analysis of the details of the SIM cards, SIM card downloads, and billing of the mobile telephones, and content of the Telegram communications confirms this process was followed on many occasions in 2016 and 2017.
As those accounts have been closed there is limited access to the original social media pages. However, examination of material recovered and the content of the conversations between Mr Mala and the third parties confirm that one of the purposes was to propagate Islamic State ‘news’ and propaganda on behalf of Islamic State and to facilitate general communication by the third parties in support of Islamic State.
Mr Mala was charged as follows:
- Between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2017 you used property namely SIM cards and mobile telephones for the purposes of terrorism, contrary to section 16 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2000.
- Between 1 January 2017 and 21 August 2017 you used property namely SIM cards and mobile telephones for the purposes of terrorism contrary to section 16 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2000.
He pleaded guilty on 7 February 2018 and on 27 April 2018 was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.
R v Gary Staples
Gary Staples was charged on 19 June 2017 with eight offences contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (publishing statements) and one offence contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (disseminating a statement). The Crown’s case was based explicitly on intent (not recklessness) to encourage others in terrorist acts, essentially to join Daesh in violent jihad.
This case arose out of an investigation by SO15 into open source social media accounts run by Staples. There were two linked accounts, Google+ and Youtube, which were both immediately open to anyone who found them. The Google+ account had 1358 followers at the time the accounts were closed down after arrest and the videos had ‘views’ into the thousands. Videos were regularly posted onto the accounts where they could be viewed by the public. Ten videos most clearly breaching terrorism legislation were identified and recorded by police.
Staples was arrested on 22 November 2016 and various electronic devices seized from the flat in London where he lived alone. There was clear evidence to attribute his running of the accounts derived from analysis of these devices. In interview, though largely ‘no comment’, he occasionally made comments consistent with accepting running the accounts but denying a terrorist intent.
The Crown’s case was that it should be inferred that the eight Section 1 videos were created by Staples himself using a video application. These videos were a ‘slide-show’ combining together still photographs, Nasheed songs celebrating death in jihad, and explicit typed message slides such as ‘Come to Jihad’. The photographs included images of Al Queda/Daesh leaders with messages such as ‘made us who we are’, heroic images of jihadi fighters in action, and derogatory pictures of Western authority. Many of the pictures in original form have been found on his devices. There, they did not contain the ‘added’ messages. The videos ended with a consistent ‘logo’ that is not a recognised terrorist media logo, and a date the same as the date of posting and so consistent with having been created that day by Staples. The Section 2 video was in live video format and is recognised as having been created by pro-Daesh media to promote Daesh.
Staples had been convicted in January 2016 of child cruelty. He was sentenced to imprisonment from which he was released in February 2016. The videos were posted after February 2016, up to November 2016. Also on his computer were records of internet message exchanges in which he expressed to unknown others support for ‘Islamic State’ and an intent to assist them in any way he could, including by committing acts of martyrdom in the UK. There was no known evidence of specific planning.
Having expressed no clear defence until after the evidence was served, Staples’ defence statement put forward that two people he had met at a mosque, though could give limited details of, had visited his house and created most of the videos without his knowledge.
He was convicted after trial of all but one count (which might have been because that video could have fallen on the lawful side of political comment). He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment after mitigation based on ill-health and a Terrorism Notification Requirement for 10 years.
R v Christopher Soares
On 1 December 2016 Christopher Soares (CS) disseminated a link to a video called ‘You must fight them O Muhawwid’ by sending it as an iMessage to a person he calls Abu Dennis Al Menaci. The video shows a masked man who identifies himself as a jihadist demonstrating on a live man how to stab people until the man dies. There is a second part to the video showing how to make bombs in your kitchen. There are words and subtitles that make clear this advice is to be used in terrorist operations overseas such as in France.
He was charged with an offence contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. The Crown’s case was based on the dissemination being a reckless encouragement or assistance to others in terrorist acts – s.2(1) and 2(2)d) of the Terrorism Act 2006. The link was sent in a message chain from his iPhone referring to terrorists learning to make bombs and being scared for his safety, but then immediately followed by “lool am dead’ and other ambiguous comments.
Soares was arrested and interviewed. He accepted sending the link to his friend. He said it was out of interest, to shock, or as a joke. He also volunteered that at that time he had been sympathetic to groups such as Daesh/ISIS. He said he had become less sympathetic since the recent attacks in the UK because his family may be in danger.
Later issues taken by the defence included:
- Any chat between Soares and the other man, especially after the date the link was sent, was irrelevant. The court of appeal ruled after appeal against Preparatory Hearing rulings that all of the evidence was relevant to show awareness of the risk for recklessness
- That recklessness in this context required a ‘clear and obvious’ risk that must in fact exist. The Judge accepted the first part but not the second. The risk was established through the chat
- That prosecution could not prove the link worked at the time it was sent. This was a significant evidential hurdle, as evidence could not be obtained from the web-site of what the link led to at the time, when arrest was six months later. It was proved through a combined circumstantial evidence case, including inferences from the chat; expert evidence from an application called ‘Wayback’ that showed the link worked at least a few days after the message; comments on the website about the video that were not hearsay by analogy with R v Twist.
He was convicted after trial in February 2018 and sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment and Terrorism Notification requirements.
R v John Hanson
On 4 June 2017, PC Morgan conducted open source research in relation to a John Hanson (4/10/56) of Grange Bungalow, Keighley. Hanson posted two messages on Facebook in July 2016 in which he accused Muslims for being responsible for wars and attacks around the world and called on others to commit acts of violence against Muslims.
In a third post published on the same site in June 2017, he included a photo of himself wearing a t-shirt which mentioned destroying Islam.
John Hanson was arrested and interviewed under caution. During interview he confirmed that the Facebook page was his and he was the only person to post statuses on his page. He denied that the posts were intended to stir up religious hatred but accepted that what he had written could be upsetting to view. He indicated that his intention was to raise awareness and to draw the government’s attention to the feelings of the people. Hanson went on to indicate he had mental health problems; that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; and that when there is terrorist activity it made him angry.
He was charged with three offences of inciting religious hatred, contrary to section 29C Public Order Act 1986. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, 20 days’ rehabilitation ‘think first’ course, 300 hours community service and a surcharge of £100.
R V Amir Maqbool
This case arose out of an investigation by Greater Manchester police into open source social media accounts run by Maqbool.
Amir Maqbool was charged on 29 October 2017 with one offence contrary to section 1 Terrorism Act 2006 (publishing statements) relating to a series of tweets during a one month period, one offence contrary to section 2 Terrorism Act 2006 (disseminating a statement) for one tweet re-publishing a Daesh video glorifying their actions in Syria, and one offence contrary to s.127 Malicious Communications Act for repeatedly calling a 999 operator in Manchester, abusing her as being part of a terrorist state, and saying the Manchester bomb was revenge.
In relation to the offence contrary to section 1 Terrorism Act 2006 Maqbool had been, through his open source Twitter account, regularly linking to stories in the news such as Daesh poisoning wells in Syria and blowing up mosques, adding comments praising/glorifying their actions. He was arrested on 9 March 2017 at his home address in Manchester and various electronic devices were seized. In interview, though largely ‘no comment’, he put forward a prepared statement saying that he was not a supporter of terrorism. He was initially bailed. Attribution was established through common emails, phone numbers, and other social media accounts on his devices. A mind-set in favour of Daesh was proved from other pictures and material on his device.
Having expressed no clear defence until after the evidence was served, Maqbool’s defence statement accepted attribution but put forward that any comments were merely emotive outbursts. However, shortly before trial he offered to plea to all matters, accepting that he had acted recklessly and therefore had been aware of the risk he had been encouraging others to commit acts of terrorism. This was agreed by the Crown and court.
He was sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment for the offence contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, with further custodial sentences to run concurrently, along with a Terrorism Notification Requirement for 10 years. This was the first sentence to make reference to the new Terrorism Guidelines.
R v Peter John Tovey
On 4 and 5 June 2017 the police became aware of posts made by Peter Tovey on his Facebook page (in the immediate aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack) which included comments that were against “foreigners” (as a racial group) and Muslims (as a religious group). Mr Tovey’s Facebook account was “open” at the time; meaning that any member of the public could see what was posted.
On 4 June 2017, in relation to “foreigners”, Mr Tovey made reference to the country needing “a revolution” and people taking to the streets and fighting back. He said that “they” needed to be killed alongside “their” women and children.
He also issued threats against Muslims on 4 June 2017 and 5 June 2017.
Mr Tovey was charged on 21 November 2017 with three offences contrary to Public Order Act 1986 i.e. one offence under section 19 [inciting racial hatred; Count 1 on the indictment] and two offences under section 29C [inciting religious hatred; Counts 2 and 3 on the indictment].
Guilty pleas were entered at Taunton Crown Court. Mr Tovey was sentenced on 27 March 2018 to a total of 15 months’ imprisonment.
R v David Bitton
In May 2016, the police became aware of tweets that were being made on David Bitton’s Twitter account. A significant number of comments made between 13 and 19 May 2016, which incorporated threats, abuse and insults against black and Jewish people (as racial groups) and Muslims (as a religious group), were captured. The Twitter account was “open” at the time meaning any member of the public could see what was being said.
When the entirety of the tweets was examined it was clear there was a political context to what was being said. Mr Bitton’s comments were made in the run up to the Brexit vote which took place on 23 June 2016. A number of the threats issued by him against Muslims, black and Jewish people were linked by him to Brexit, his dislike of immigrants and his linking of them to terrorism, other crimes and issues.
Mr Bitton was charged with 13 offences contrary to Public Order Act 1986 - six offences under section 19 (inciting racial hatred in respect of his tweets against black and Jewish people) and seven offences under section 29C (inciting religious hatred in respect of his tweets against Muslims).
At Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court on 18 January 2018, Mr Bitton pleaded guilty to all charges. His case was committed to Minshull Street Crown Court. On 15 February 2018, he was sentenced to a total of four years’ imprisonment.
R v Lloyd Gunton
On 29 June 2017, the police became aware of posts that had been made on Lloyd Gunton’s Instagram account. Mr Gunton was 17 years old at the time. Specifically, there was a post encouraging “Islamic State brothers” to “attack the non-believers” with trucks and knives. This was accompanied by an image of a black flag commonly associated with Islamic State and reference to a terrorist threat to Cardiff on 30 June 2017.
Further Instagram posts referring to an attack on Cardiff were recovered alongside images of Cardiff castle wall; a jeep running over skulls; a knife and a suicide belt. In addition, a page from the Islamic State-produced Rumiyah magazine had been posted on 13 June 2017. This page was headed “Just Terror Tactics” with reference to truck attacks; the ideal vehicle and how to acquire a vehicle.
Following a search at Mr Gunton’s home address on 30 June 2017, a knife, hammer and martyrdom note were recovered from a rucksack in his bedroom. The note stated that Mr Gunton was a “soldier of the Islamic state” and detailed a specific attack on Cardiff involving a vehicle and knife attack.
Examination of Mr Gunton’s mobile phone revealed that he had researched terrorist-related terms on the internet on a frequent basis since June 2016. Specific terms searched for included terrorist attacks on Cardiff; martyrdom and jihad; knife attacks; vehicle attacks; bollards and radicalisation/pledging allegiance to Islamic State.
A subsequent examination of Mr Gunton’s laptop showed that two full copies of Rumiyah magazine had been downloaded on 10 June 2017. These included calls and instructions for knife and vehicles attacks on “civilians in the West”.
Mr Gunton was charged with one offence contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006 (preparation of terrorist acts); two offences contrary to section 1 Terrorism Act 2006 (encouraging acts of terrorism) and two offences contrary to section 58 Terrorism Act 2000 (possession of a record of terrorist information).
On 27 November 2017, Mr Gunton was found guilty of all counts after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court. He was sentenced on 2 March 2018 to detention at Her Majesty’s Pleasure on account of his age with a requirement to serve a minimum term of 11 years’ imprisonment. A 10-year notification period was imposed under Counter Terrorism Act 2008 and the weapons seized were ordered to be forfeited.
R v Mizanur Uddin
On 6 August 2017, Mr Uddin was stopped by police officers in his vehicle at the outbound controls of the port of Dover. Due to his defensive and hostile behaviour when asked screening questions about his travel, he was pulled over and subsequently detained under Schedule 7; Terrorism Act 2000.
During the examination by the officers which followed, Mr Uddin was argumentative; continually repeating that his human rights were being breached as they and the police in general, were racist.
Mr Uddin was further obstructive when asked questions about his employment, lifestyle and living arrangements. Eventually he refused to answer questions altogether on the grounds that it was “interfering with his personal life” and the police, in his view, were “racist animals”.
Mr Uddin was requisitioned via post to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in respect of one offence contrary to paragraph 18(1)(c) Schedule 7; Terrorism Act 2000 (wilfully obstructing or seeking to frustrate an examination under the Schedule).
At the first hearing on 23 January 2018, Mr Uddin pleaded guilty to the offence. He was sentenced to a 12 month Conditional Discharge.
R v Marcus Beale
Marcus Beale was Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) (Security) with West Midlands Police for West Midlands Police. He was Developed Vetted and his role involved responsibility for counter terrorism and covert investigations.
A West Midlands Police motor vehicle was, at all material times, allocated to Marcus Beale for both business and personal use.
Classified material is handled by West Midlands Police in accordance with the Security Policy Framework and Government Security Classifications. If, for example, there is a requirement to take material classified as SECRET out of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) there should be two people accompanying it and it should be housed in a specified container suitable for transporting such material.
On 15 May 2017 he informed his staff officer that his motor vehicle had been broken into and property, which included his secure briefcase, had been stolen. He told her that the secure briefcase contained a number of work-related documents including: a document relating to a high profile investigation, which contained sensitive material; a Regional Organised Crime Unit document, also containing sensitive material; and some Executive Liaison Group (ELG) notes.
The following day Marcus Beale was shown copies of a number of documents and he confirmed that these appeared to be copies of the documents that had been stolen. He added that a ‘Counter Terrorism Local Profile’ document had also been stolen.
A full investigation was undertaken into the theft of the briefcase and contents and at the same time an inquiry commenced into the precise nature of the stolen documents and Marcus Beale’s handling of them. It transpired that two of the documents in the secure briefcase disclosed information, which fell within Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1989.
It was established that Marcus Beale had collected one of those documents on 10 May 2017 and that it was marked TOP SECRET. The document was contained in an A4 envelope, which he did not open but which he put into his ‘soft’ briefcase, as he was leaving WMCTU HQ. He believed that the highest marking the document would have was SECRET, as he later said in a prepared statement provided to the officers who interviewed him. It was not possible to establish with certainty when he had come into possession of the other documents in the briefcase.
Marcus Beale then left the WMCTU building and he put his briefcase the on the rear seat. Some time later he drove home and parked his car in the driveway of his home address and removed the A4 envelope from his soft briefcase, opened the boot and unlocked his secure briefcase. Before placing the envelope in the secure briefcase he ‘flicked through’ the document to ascertain whether it covered a specific point. After doing so he put it back in the envelope and put it in the secure briefcase, which he locked and in turn left locked in the boot of the car. The car itself remained parked in the driveway.
On 11 May 2017 Marcus Beale and his wife went away for the weekend. He parked the car in a public car park at East Midlands Parkway Train Station at about 14:30 hours. He did not look in the boot when removing his luggage. The couple returned to the station at approximately 22:10 hours on 13 May 2017, he drove home and parked his car in the driveway. Neither he nor his wife went into the boot of the vehicle.
On 14 May 2017 the couple went out to a local supermarket in the car at about 11:30 hours. Marcus Beale left his car parked in the supermarket car park. They returned to the car with a number of bags of shopping at about 12:45 hours. Marcus Beale recalled opening the boot and believed that he saw the secure briefcase flat on the right side of the boot floor before placing two bags of shopping on top of it. When they got home he removed the bags of shopping from the boot and locked the car using the key fob. Neither he nor his wife went back to the car, which was again parked in the driveway of his home address, that day.
Marcus Beale left his home address at 06:30 hours on 15 May 2017. He was due to be away for two nights and so had a number of things with him. He did not, however, open the boot of the car. He later went to Oxford at about 14:00 hours and stopped at a motorway services station on the way. He took his overnight bag and daily briefcase out of the rear of the vehicle and put them in the boot. This was the first time he had accessed the boot that day. It was as he was walking away that he thought something had not looked quite right and he had not seen his secure briefcase. After visiting the services area he returned to his car and looked around the boot area. The secure briefcase was not there, although everything else looked as it had before.
Marcus Beale completed his journey to Oxford. He parked in an undercover car park next to his hotel and carried out a thorough search of the car. It was at this point that he realised that his iPod was missing as was a pair of prescription Oakley sunglasses and his secure briefcase, which contained four ‘sensitive’ documents marked ‘SECRET’ and a number of other documents marked ‘Confidential’.
Marcus Beale believed that the items had been stolen whilst his car was in his driveway at his home address. He further believed that the secure briefcase had been in the boot at 12:50 hours on 14 May 2017 when they returned from their shopping trip but he could not be 100% certain.
He was interviewed under caution on a voluntary basis on in October 2017 in the presence of his solicitors. He read a prepared statement consisting of 25 numbered paragraphs and then answered questions.
The points made included the following:
- he would often work far outside his normal hours and often while at home;
- when he commenced his role (as ACC) he was provided with a secure briefcase;
- it was well-known that the briefcase was used to transport sensitive documents and equally well-known that it was used to transport material marked as SECRET;
- he is cleared to receive material classified as TOP SECRET but it was not a regular occurrence for it to be provided in written form;
- he has attended ELG meetings and is aware that it can discuss material classified as TOP SECRET but that is not always the case;
- he had only read ELG minutes on one previous occasion and is not aware of the security classification process for ELG minutes;
- he had not been present at the meeting to which the minutes relate but from operational de-briefs he had not heard anything that would lead him to believe that they contained material classified as TOP SECRET;
- he said that the person he had collected the A4 envelope from had described the document as sensitive when she handed it to him and asked him where he would store the minutes and he had told her he would keep it in the secure briefcase in his car;
- the envelope did not have an security classification marked on it and he was not required to sign to acknowledge receipt of it;
- he believed that the highest marking the document would have was SECRET;
- he said it was his belief in the absolute professionalism of the person from whom he had taken possession of the A4 envelope that led him to believe that he would not have been handed a document marked as TOP SECRET without it being brought to his attention;
- when he transferred the minutes from his soft briefcase to the secure briefcase he took them out of the envelope to “flick through” as he wanted to check that a specific point was present. The process lasted a matter of seconds and he did not engage with the material, skimming for key words. He did not notice the particular marking of the material.
- he placed the minutes in his secure briefcase;
- he accepted that there was other material in the secure briefcase marked SECRET, which he had intended to work on them at home;
- he believed the secure briefcase had been provided for this purpose;
- he had never been challenged on the appropriateness of managing SECRET material in this manner;
- despite the fact that he was unaware of any TOP SECRET material he stored all of the documents within police issued property - a police issued ‘secret’ briefcase secured with a combination lock and a key, kept separately; this was locked, out of sight, within a police provided vehicle.
Marcus Beale was charged as follows: Between the 9 day of May 2017 and the 16 day of May 2017 Marcus BEALE, a Crown servant, had in his possession or under his control, by virtue of his position as such, two documents which he failed to take such care of as to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of those documents as a person in his position may reasonably be expected to take, contrary to section 8(1) of the Official Secrets Act 1989.
Marcus Beale pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 7 December 2017, his first appearance in court in connection with this offence. He was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £150 and to contribute £160 towards Prosecution Costs.
R V Mohammed Khan
Mohammed Khan owned a corner shop in Sunderland. He was the operator of a Twitter account that published articles and comments in support of Daesh/Islamic State and inciting religious hatred against Shia Muslims, he being Sunni. This included such calls as ‘death to every single Shia’.
When arrested in May 2017 he denied that the account, which was in a false name, was his. CPS and police worked together to develop the evidence to prove attribution of the account to Khan. This included analysing the crossover of email addresses and phone numbers between different social media accounts, demonstrating the consistency of style in what was said across accounts, and finding material on his devices supportive of Daesh. Police also obtained witness statements from those who knew Khan to confirm that the views expressed were his own and that he sometimes used a name that was part of the Twitter account.
Once the evidence was collected Khan was arrested again, at which time he refused to answer any questions in interview. He was charged with 9 counts relating to s.1 Terrorism Act 2006 publication of terrorist material, s.2 Terrorism Act 2006 dissemination, and s.29c Public Order Act 1986 inciting religious hatred.
Khan initially continued to deny that the postings were his. However, after all the evidence was served he pleaded guilty to all matters. He entered a basis of plea that he had been merely reckless as to the encouragement of terrorism. After discussion between CPS, counsel and police, this was rejected and the case put down for a Newton hearing before the Judge. The Crown’s case was that the encouragement was intentional, relying amongst other pieces of evidence on Tweets calling for groups of people in Syria to be burned alive.
After a two-day Newton hearing Khan was found guilty on the Crown’s case. He was sentenced to 4.5 years’ imprisonment concurrent on each count, and a Terrorism Notification Requirement for 10 years. This was one of the first sentences after the coming into force of the Sentencing Council Guideline on Terrorist offences.
R v Mohammed Abbas Idris Awan
Mohammed Abbas Idris Awan was charged with an offence contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006, preparation of terrorist acts and two offences contrary to section 58 Terrorism Act 2000. The section 5 offence relates to a UK attack plan.
His brother, Rizwan Awan, left the UK with his wife in 2015 on the pretence that he had emigrated to Saudi Arabia. In fact, he had travelled to Syria to join Daesh. In March 2016, it was believed, through open source research that he had carried out a suicide bombing at an air force base in Iraq.
On 1 June 2017 Mohammed Abbas Idris Awan was arrested under section 41 Terrorism Act 2000 after police had been informed that a delivery of steel ball bearings, safety glasses and therabands had been delivered to him at his family address in Huddersfield. These, and a slingshot that had also been delivered, were seized.
Interrogation of the devices revealed that Mohammed Abbas Idris AWAN had downloaded a substantial amount of mind set material that included speeches and publications from prominent members of Daesh and conducted searches relating to slingshot injuries. There were a number of videos that demonstrated attack planning by Daesh. The devices also contained the material that is subject of the two charges contrary to section 58 TACT 2000 - ‘Video of Commander Hamzah Zinjibary’s Training Camp’ and ‘How to Survive in the West’.
He gave a ‘no comment’ interview and made a prepared statement that denied any intention of attack planning. He said that the section 58 material belonged to his deceased brother.
After trial he was convicted of all three offences. He received an extended sentence of 13 years’ imprisonment, consisting of a custodial term of 10 years and three-year extension to the licence term in respect of the section 5 TACT offence. He received four years’ imprisonment concurrent with each other in respect of the section 58 TACT offences and the section 5 TACT offence.
R v Nourdeen Abdullah Al-Gharib
Nourdeen Abdullah Al-Gharib was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of four offences contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. A police investigation found that he had used a variety of social media accounts to share poisonous Islamist propaganda with the general public or private individuals in secure online conversations. When confronted with the evidence, Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib accepted that he had sent the material but offered a variety of excuses. Eventually he pleaded guilty to the four offences, accepting that he had either been reckless as to whether terrorism would be encouraged or, in one case, that he intended that the recipient of the material would be encouraged to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism.
The first charge concerned material that had been uploaded to a YouTube account. Three videos had been created using specialist software to give the impression that Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib was engaged in a question and answer session with the notorious extremist Anwar Al-Awlaki. Phrases and comments had been cleverly extracted from Al-Awlaki’s speeches and sermons which explained how individuals could either engage in acts of insurrection or practically support those who were so engaged. The conversation in the third video was set against a backdrop of images that were both anti-American and anti-Israeli. Whilst the three videos had originally been uploaded in 2011, Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib re-posted extracts from them on his Facebook page in January 2017 with a comment saying that he had come across some of “my old works” and that he needed to “start back uploading things again”.
The second charge arose from a conversation between Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib and an individual who had travelled to Syria to fight with a terrorist organisation. The mind-set of the contact was disclosed in a number of messages when he spoke about his ambitions for a “good death”. In his view, death would be “good” if it was met whilst fighting to implement his own very narrow form of Islamic government. In the course of messaging, Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib and the contact celebrated the decision to fight in the Syrian conflict; the 2016 Christmas Market terrorist attack in Berlin; and a speech that they had both heard by a man convicted of terrorist offences. Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib engaged in this conversation knowing that his contact was in a warzone engaged in acts of armed rebellion but nevertheless sent him videos and messages that glorified and encouraged acts of terrorism.
The third and fourth charges concerned videos published on the social media sites Instagram and Facebook. The same material had been uploaded to each account at the same time because Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib linked the two. He was therefore able to reach a wider audience. The videos were extracts from a speech given at a London mosque during Ramadan at the height of fighting in Iraq in 2004. The speaker glorified and celebrated the acts of the mujahideen, encouraged his listeners to act in a like manner and encouraged them to pray for the defeat of unbelievers: “Ask Allah to let their blood run on the streets of Fallujah”. When posting this material on Facebook, Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib asserted that the speaker had been jailed for telling the truth.
The conduct that was subject to the four specific charges was interspersed with other comments and postings that glorified, celebrated and encouraged acts of terrorism. One example of the way in which Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib celebrated the murder of innocent civilians was in a cartoon uploaded to his Instagram account in November 2016, approximately one year after terror attacks in France. The image showed individuals in a classroom and a note being passed from one to another. The note contained the Daesh/Islamic State flag and some Arabic writing, and the recipient was wearing the colours of the French national flag. The caption read, “Don’t be mad, it’s the way it’s going…”. Other examples of his commitment to extremism were found in his possession of a publication called “39 Ways to Commit Jihad” [Jihad meaning holy war]; images depicting Osama bin Laden, the Daesh flag and hostages wearing orange jumpsuits; and Daesh propaganda videos including one which showed fighters acting “for the sake of Allah”.
Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib’s criminal misconduct is a further reminder of the untold damage done by individuals who use the internet for nefarious purposes. The history of terrorist organisations such as Daesh show that their use of highly charged online communications is a very effective means of radicalising groups and individuals in order to convert them to the organisation’s narrow and selfish ideals. The sentence imposed for the four offences, taking account of Mr Abdullah Al-Gharib’s personal circumstances and guilty plea, was one of 27 months’ imprisonment. At the same hearing he was sentenced for possessing a class A drug with intent to supply it to another. The overall sentence was therefore one of five years and three months’ imprisonment.
R v Ahmed Hassan
Ahmed Hassan, an Iraqi national, had entered the UK illegally in a lorry in October 2015, claiming to be 16 years of age. He was placed with Surrey County Council and sought asylum. The claim was never finalised.
On 15 September 2017 Ahmed Hassan boarded a District Line train at Wimbledon with an improvised explosive device (IED). He exited the train at Putney Bridge leaving the concealed IED behind. Having set the timer at Wimbledon the device partially exploded at Parson Green. There were 93 passengers in the carriage, 23 of whom were burned and 28 of whom suffered crush injuries in the aftermath of the incident.
Hassan held anti-Western views, which a number of witnesses attested to, and he claimed to have been captured and trained by ISIS whilst in Iraq, the latter of which he denied at trial, claiming he had said this in order to improve his chances of a successful asylum claim.
Whilst in foster care he obtained component parts for the IED and constructed it shortly before deploying it on the tube train. He stated in court that he obtained the instructions for construction from the internet. The IED contained 400 grams of Triacetone Triperoxide (“TATP”). He packed the device with 2.2 kilograms of metal shrapnel comprising nails, screws, bolts, sockets, knives and screwdrivers. The detonator which he carried in his pocket was a modified kitchen timer. The device was concealed in a Lidl carrier bag so as not to draw attention from passengers.
Hassan was arrested the following day at Dover as a result of being traced from CCTV images.
He was charged with attempted murder and causing an explosion likely to endanger life, which was an alternative count.
The evidence to support the charges came from a number of sources including CCTV, searches, financial, examination of his phone, witnesses and forensic evidence in relation to the construction of the IED and searches of his home address.
Following a trial Hassan was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 34 years with no discount for time spent in custody.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave was satisfied on the evidence that Hassan was driven and motivated by four things: a mind-set of ISIS extremism, a deep-seated hatred of this country, a desire for revenge against Britain and America whom he blamed for his father’s death in Iraq and anger at the continued bombing of Iraq by Western Coalition forces.
He described Hassan as being content to lead a double life for almost two years, presenting as a polite, well behaved and exceptionally bright model student, grateful to the opportunities that were given to him. He said that Hassan cynically exploited to the full the generosity and naivety of the system and those looking after and helping him, whilst harbouring dark thoughts.
R v Rhodenne Chand
This case involved the posting on a Twitter account, RLC@Rhonaldo87, of material aimed at Muslims and Pakistanis. All the posts took place over a relatively limited period, between 23 May 2017 and 4 June 2017.
The posts were brought to the police’s notice by a member of the public who said that although he was unaffected by the posts, he was of the view that they were extreme and racist and was concerned that the maker could be putting into effect his violent rhetoric.
Rhodenne Chand was identified as the Twitter account holder and after being contacted by the police he voluntarily attended the police station for interview. He admitted that the posts were attributable to him and said he was disgusted at himself for putting the material on social media. He denied any racial or religious bias and said that he had withdrawn from using the account.
Rhodenne Chand pleaded guilty to 10 offences of inciting religious and racial hatred at Birmingham Magistrate’s court on 10 May. He was committed for sentence to Birmingham Crown Court for 7 June. He was finally sentenced on 25 June to 20 months’ imprisonment.
R v Darren Osborne
On 19 June 2017, at just after a quarter past midnight, Darren Osborne intentionally drove a heavy Luton box van into a group of Muslims who had gathered in the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street, in the Finsbury Park area of London. It was Ramadan and many of the group had been attending prayers at one or other of the local mosques. They had stopped to assist 51-year-old Makram Ali who had collapsed. Mr Osborne drove directly into the group, killing Mr Ali and injuring many others, some of them seriously.
Mr Osborne hired the van in Wales and drove from Cardiff to London the looking for such a target. It seems that his original intention had been to drive the van into people taking part in the Al Quds Day march through central London, an event organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission. However, when that option had not proved viable, he drove around London looking for an alternative target. He drove to southeast London in search of a mosque and when that failed he made his way to Finsbury Park, also in an attempt to locate a mosque.
Mr Osborne was detained at the scene of the incident by members of the public before being arrested by police. A note was recovered from the dashboard of the van which provided an explanation of Mr Osborne’s motivation. In the note, he complains about the following matters:
- terrorists 'being on the streets and marching through London' notwithstanding three recent terror attacks;
- the lack of reaction of Sadiq Khan to these events (as Mr Osborne viewed it);
- the lack of public outrage in response to the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal and, specifically, his perception that Jeremy Corbyn and Lily Allen did not involve themselves in that issue;
- more generally, child abuse “being carried out by packs of Muslim men”; and
- immigration and the ‘introduction of Islamic ideology and Sharia law' to the UK.
He further made similar observations shortly after he had been detained at the scene of the attack, when he also remarked “At least I had a proper go.” He planned to make a public statement by killing Muslims, knowing that his handwritten note would be recovered by the authorities.
On 1 February 2018 Mr Osborne was convicted after trial of one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. Sentencing him, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb indicated that she was satisfied that the murder occurred for a terrorist purpose and that it was committed in the context of an attempted multiple murder. She sentenced Mr Osborne to concurrent sentences of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 43 years. Notification requirements also apply for a period of 30 years.
R v Ian Evans
On 22 June 2018, Ian Evans was sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court to nine months’ imprisonment for two offences of incitement to stir up religious hatred contrary to Section 29C Public Order Act 1986.
The offences were committed in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market on 3 June 2017. Mr Evans posted messages on a Facebook page created for the community, and known as ‘The Shrewsbury Group’, urging people to ‘fight back’, to ‘hunt and kill Muslims, not foxes’ and inviting people to attend a protest march at the local mosque on 5 June.
In 2017, ‘The Shrewsbury Group’ had approximately 6500 members. Mr Evans’s comments were read by one member who raised concern about this ‘racist problem in Shrewsbury’. The police deployed a team to monitor the protest and diverted their resources in anticipation of it. Fortunately, no meeting materialised and there was no disorder.
Mr Evans was subsequently identified by the police as being responsible for posting the messages. He was interviewed under caution and admitted making the comments saying he was ‘wound up’.
At the sentencing hearing, the HHJ Barrie, made the following observations:
- After trial, the offences would have attracted a starting point of 12 months’ imprisonment. Mr Littlefair was given credit for his guilty pleas at the first hearing at Telford Magistrates’ Court and his personal mitigation
- The aggravating features of the case were the timing of the comments; the fact that Mr Evans was intoxicated when he created the posts and his antecedent history for making threats to others, (albeit not racist or anti-Muslim)
- The judge commented ‘the spark of these offences was after the terrorist attacks. We live in a society that respects individuals, it is utterly wrong to blame all Muslims for the actions of a few individuals; you tried to stir up divisive hatred and division’.
R v Keegan Jakovlevs
Shortly after the Manchester bombing occurred on 22 March 2017, Jakovlevs published a post on his public Facebook account inviting his readers to kill every Muslim they see. Jakovlevs had 2154 Facebook friends and his post was taken down shortly after it had been posted. In interview, it became clear that the target of Jakovlevs’ post was the Muslim community at large and that he believed that all the Muslims attending the mosque in the local area were involved in plotting terrorist attacks. Jakovlevs accepted that his message could have been seen as his attempt to ‘turn other people against them’ and to ‘stir the pot’. He pleaded guilty to one charge of publishing threatening material with the intention of stirring up religious hatred contrary to section 29C of the Public Order Act 1986.
On 7 September 2017, Jakovlevs was sentenced at Mold Crown Court to 12 months’ imprisonment. The sentencing judge noted that the defendant had admitted he was responsible for posting a hateful message at a time when the nation was grieving and in utter shock. The post had had the potential to be viewed by at least 2000 people and there had been evidence that it had been viewed and approved of by others. Whilst the defendant had since shown remorse, his post would have caused fear and distress as he encouraged individuals to kill Muslims. The sentenced imposed was at the bottom of the sentencing range.
R v Andrew Emery
Two weeks after the Manchester bombing, and on the night of the tribute concert, Emery published a number of posts on his public Facebook account targeting the Muslim community. On 4 June 2017, Emery invited serial killers and murderers to target the Muslim community. He also invited his readers to burn down mosques, preferably at a time when they were full. He pleaded guilty to three charges of publishing threatening material with the intention of stirring up religious hatred contrary to section 29C of the Public Order Act 1986.
On 28 June 2018, Emery was sentenced at Stoke Crown Court to two years’ imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently. The judge was not persuaded to suspend the sentence. This was because the defendant’s postings had been available to all with no geographical restriction, had encouraged the used of fatal violence, and because it was clear from the defendant’s Facebook account that he had been responsible for previous posts of a similar nature. Whilst Muslims worldwide had condemned the atrocities that took place at Manchester, and the remembrance concert was an attempt to deal with anguish and love, in woeful contrast, the defendant had descended into hatred and division, and had consistently nurtured those attitudes and responses. The judge commented that freedom of speech is not an absolute right, and does not extend to words intending to spread religious hatred.
R v a Youth (Operation Groop)
On the morning of Monday 12 June 2017, a 15 year old youth flagged up as absent at his school and was reported missing. That same morning, his father was informed that suspicious financial transactions had occurred on a business bank account he used. The transactions related to flight and hotel bookings to destinations in Spain and Turkey. It was also established that the youth’s passport was missing from the family home.
That same morning, the youth presented himself to the check-in desk of an airline at Birmingham International airport. The youth intended to board a flight to Turkey leaving that afternoon. The investigation revealed that he had been in contact with an individual in Syria and was intending to join a proscribed organisation in Syria, to fight for that group and develop its cyber capacity. The defendant was arrested at the airport for one offence of engaging in preparation to commit acts of terrorism contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was charged, appeared at Court and placed on conditional bail until his trial date. He was ordered not to access the internet unsupervised.
Within four days of being bailed, the youth who had turned 16, proceeded to access the internet without supervision. During this time he created a private Telegram channel to broadcast what he called ‘useful and basic hacking skills and techniques’ which were to be used only ‘against the enemies of Allah’. There were a total of 26 lessons offered from 1 December 2017 to 8 January 2018. These could be divided into three categories: operating system lessons designed to allow readers to download operating systems which would facilitate their engagement in hacking activity; hacking lessons which gave the readers instructions to allow them to take control of devices remotely, attack Wi-Fi routers and social media accounts as well as spy and infect other people’s computers; and finally tradecraft lessons to allow readers to access the dark web anonymously, hide applications, and create fake social media accounts. The youth also acquired devices aimed at assisting his hacking activities.
When broadcasting on his channel, a number of messages made it clear that the youth’s intentions for his readers were not limited to developing their ability to conduct simple cyber-attacks, but also encompassed facilitating their engagement in broader acts of terrorism. The youth provided contact details for persons who wished to travel to Syria, and disseminated terrorist publications in the form of posters, nasheeds, graphic videos and sermons encouraging martyrdom. One of the links posted on his channel related to a YouTube video of Michael Adebolajo after the Lee Rigby murder which showed him justifying why he murdered Lee Rigby. The link was followed by a supportive message in which the youth deplored that there were not more ‘brave mujahideen combating soldiers’ like Adebolajo. One of the disseminated publications contained advice about how to hide an extremist identity, illicitly earn money, transport weapons, and build bombs. It also advised its readers to learn a martial art and to physically train to be ready for Jihad.
The youth was charged with a number of further offences. These included one offence of terrorist training contrary to section 6 of the Terrorism Act 2006, two offences of disseminating terrorist publications contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006, and one offence of being in possession of terrorist articles contrary to section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
After pleading guilty to all the offences, the defendant was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on 6 July 2018. After considering the pre-sentence report and mitigation, the sentencing judge determined that there was significant risk to the public of serious harm caused by the commission of further specified offences by this youth. The Judge imposed an extended sentence of nine years of detention for the terrorist training offence with a six-year custodial element followed by three years on licence. He imposed concurrent sentences of three-and-a-half years’ detention for the section 5 and section 2 offences, and 18 months’ detention for the section 57 offence. A ten-year notification period was also imposed.
R v Adam Paul Wyatt
The content of a Google+ account in the name of Abdur-Rahman Salford came to the attention of police in April 2017. The account which had been opened seven weeks prior to its examination by the police was publically accessible and contained a substantial amount of material encouraging its readers to perform Hijrah to the so called Islamic State and to become soldiers of the Caliphate. The contents of this account were entirely centred on Islam and the injustices suffered by Muslims across the world, and were composed of emotive pictures of suffering, motivational posters relating to Islam, quotes from Koranic scripture, Daesh news, and material glorifying the actions of the combatants fighting for the cause of Allah. Pictures and posts portraying Bashar Al-Assad as a butcher and war criminal, as well as Daesh news bulletins suggested that the battle fronts were in Syria, Iraq and East Asia. Many of the posts included a black Shahada flag with Allah’s seal commonly associated with Daesh.
The Google+ account was identified as belonging to Adam Paul Wyatt. Wyatt’s profile name ‘Abdur Rahman’ meant the “servant of Allah” and the profile’s tag described him as a ‘Recent revert in Manchester’. The first post found on Wyatt’s account was a pinned post. It featured a prayer for the fighters of the Islamic State. By pinning this post, Wyatt chose for it to always appear as the first entry on this Google + account. The prayer post had been shared by five others and liked 14 times. It also attracted three comments in favour of it. Its content glorified the Mujahideen of Daesh. It asked Allah to give them victory in every battle and to destroy all their enemies. It also asked Allah to choose its readers to emigrate to the Islamic Caliphate, to become part of His army and to be chosen for martyrdom on the battlefield of Jihad. It was followed by a Daesh flag. The Google+ account appeared to have been created solely for the purpose of publishing extremist material glorifying terrorist acts for Daesh in the UK and abroad.
After his arrest, the police found terrorist publications on Wyatt’s electronic devices. These included three Daesh publications, the Mujahideen Poisons handbook, and Advice to those who cannot come to Sham. The Daesh publications contained instructions about how to commit knife attacks, arson attacks and van attacks. Wyatt was charged with 11 offences of encouraging and disseminating terrorist publications online contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was also charged with five offences of being in possession of material likely to be useful to a terrorist. He pleaded guilty on the basis that his posts had been reckless. The judge however, found that Wyatt’s actions had been intentional, and that he had become radicalised in 2016 and was a supporter of Daesh. The judge was of the view that Wyatt had intended to encourage others to engage in terrorism and that he had not been telling the truth when he said he could not remember making the postings. The judge sentenced Wyatt to three years and nine months’ custody for all the offences after taking into account Wyatt’s lack of previous convictions, his record and his mental health issues. Wyatt will be the subject of notification requirements for 10 years.
R v Mohammed Khilji
Mohammed Khilji was convicted at Kingston Crown Court of eight offences contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. The offences reflected eight separate occasions spanning September 2016 to May 2017 when he sent an internet link to another person. On each occasion the link was to a propaganda video from the banned terrorist organisation Daesh (Islamic State). Mr Khilji either intended to encourage terrorism or was reckless as to whether terrorism would be encouraged as a result of his actions. The messages and links were found on his mobile phone which was seized from his home address after he was arrested.
Terrorist organisations are reliant on propaganda in order to recruit others to their cause and to encourage them to commit acts of terrorism. The Daesh videos that featured in this case were relatively sophisticated: some had an introductory title, commentary, a militaristic chant in the background called a nasheed and clever camera work in order to present the footage in as attractive a format as possible. They had been named in a manner that sought to capture a sense of duty, purpose and inevitable victory. For example, the first charge concerned a video called Epic Battles of Constancy; the third was called The Impenetrable Fortress; and another was The Way to Glory 2. The footage in each video varied but the themes were the same: the justification of extreme acts of violence perpetrated in the name of religion; the wanton perpetration of such murderous violence; and the glorification of the participants. The prosecution successfully argued that each video amounted to a terrorist publication within the meaning of section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. It was also argued that, in sending a working link to the video, Mr Khilji had provided the recipient with a service.
Alongside the videos were a number of messages sent by Mr Khilji to his acquaintances. These messages clearly betrayed his deep-seated sympathy for Daesh and a determination to share their message. For example, on 24 September 2016 he spoke about using a shotgun to shoot a man; on 14 October 2016 he suggested that a friend should ‘Lee Rigby’ a soldier who had been seen on a train; and on 20 February 2017 he wrote about making a bomb big enough to hit Big Ben. The reference to ‘Lee Rigby’ is to Fusilier Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who was attacked and murdered by two extreme Islamists in May 2013 because they wanted to kill a soldier.
In addition to his messages, Mr Khilji’s phone contained a number of significant pictures. They were of him in his kitchen wearing a face covering. He held a large carving knife in one hand and held the index finger of his other hand up in a salute. He sent one of these images with the message, “Going kuffar hunting”. ‘Kuffar’ is the derogatory term used by Islamists to describe an unbeliever.
An unusual aspect of the case was that Mr Khilji had used computer software to create his own Daesh imitation videos. He selected graphic computer games - which included beheadings - and adapted them to include the Daesh flag and nasheeds. His purpose was to publish his videos on YouTube in the hope that, because they were videos of computer gaming, they would not be removed. It was clear that the encouragement of terrorism was intended.
Following his conviction Mr Khilji was sentenced to a term of five years’ imprisonment. The judge commented that the term would have been six years but for Mr Khilji’s young age (19 at the time of conviction).
2017 Toggle accordion
R v Fatimah Peer-Mohd
On 16 February 2017 Fatimah Peer-Mohd entered a guilty plea to a single count of disseminating a terrorist publication between 12 June 2014 and 24 June 2014, contrary to section 2 Terrorism Act 2006. On 20 March 2017 she was sentenced to 20 months' imprisonment and a Notification Order was made for a period of 10 years.
Peer-Mohd acted as one of a number of administrators for a webpage entitled "Authentic Tauheed." That website provides links to a large volume of talks and written material providing Islamic teaching, in particular a number of talks by Shaikh Faisal. These talks were originally delivered live via Paltalk and administrators of the site were responsible for recording and noting the talks then editing and uploading the final product onto the website.
Ms Peer-Mohd created notes of a number of talks, in particular "The Empire Strikes Back". This talk encouraged the listener to engage in acts of terrorism by:
- Providing a religious basis upon which it was stated that the Islamic State is a valid caliphate and that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a valid calipha
- Asserting that giving ba'yah to the calipha is a religious obligation
- Praising al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden
- Presenting ISIL and Al-Baghadi as the natural successors of Al-Qaeda, and
- Asserting that those who do not support ISIL are hypocrites.
Peer-Mohd pleaded guilty on the basis that in providing a service which enabled people to access this talk she acted recklessly with regards to whether anyone would be encouraged to commit and act of terrorism as a consequence. The Judge found that her conduct was aggravated by her personal support for Daesh and the role she played as an administrator for the website. She received credit for her guilty plea, her young age, her previous good character and some evidence of emotional manipulation by Shaikh Faisal.
R v Lawrence Burns
On 16 December 2016 Lawrence Burns was convicted of two offences of inciting racial hatred contrary to section 18 and section 19 Public Order Act 1986. Burns, an avowed white supremacist and member of National Action, incited hatred through his Facebook account and within a speech delivered at a National Action demonstration.
Between 27 August and 25 September 2014, Burns posted over 100 comments to his open Facebook account in the name 'Wolf Einherjar'. Those comments expressly asserted that the white race was supreme to other racial groups, and portrayed black and Jewish people as subhuman. Within the messages Burns referred to members of one racial group as cancer, maggots, and as an infestation that needed to be exterminated. He referred to children of a second racial group as making him physically sick making reference to encounters with that racial group in real life, underlying the deeply personal sense in which his beliefs were held. He posted imagery of a man with his head blown to pieces and made derogatory references to his race. He posted a reference to what purported to be a manual written by someone else which described ways to kill members of one racial group. He found a website that was dedicated to mixed race relationships and did what he could to suppress it by complaining about it and encouraging others to do so.
On 23 May 2015 Burns gave a speech at the David Lane Memorial Demonstration held outside the American Embassy in London. In this speech Burns stated that he had been profoundly influenced and inspired by David Lane and expound upon his belief that races need to protect their own interests, and should be segregated. He referred to members of one racial group as being in a conspiracy to create a mongrelised raceless society - something he regarded as an evil.
The Judge found that in posting the material to Facebook and delivering the speech Burns intended to incite racial hatred. On 10 March 2017 he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment and a Criminal Behaviour Order was imposed for a period of six years. The devices used in the commission of the offence were forfeited.
This case awaits notification from the Court of Appeal as to whether leave will be granted for an appeal against conviction.
R v Sean Creighton
Police suspected that Sean Creighton may have been in possession of a firearm due to an image he posted on a social media platform, called VK, using the profile name 'Odins Wolf'. VK or 'VKontakte' is the largest European online social networking service. It is based in St Petersburg and is available in several languages. It is most popular among Russian speaking users. VK is ranked globally, for all social networks, second only to Facebook and higher than Instagram and Twitter. One feature is the ease of creating an account.
Police carried out a review of Creighton's online activity and found that he was making numerous posts every day and that the majority of the material he posted was of a racist and hateful nature. He would post images or comments directly onto his account or he would share material from other VK users and this material was viewable to all users on VK. His posts would regularly receive 'likes' or 'shares' along with comments from other users.
On 29 June 2016 search warrants were executed at his home address and he was arrested. Police found a clear plastic box containing various stickers, badges and cards displaying extremist literature. On the laptop they found a document entitled 'White Resistance Manual Version 2.4' which provides extensive practical guidance on how to commit and fund terrorism and avoid detection.
He was charged with nine offences contrary to the Public Order Act 1986, four contrary to section19 [inciting racial hatred], one contrary to section 29C [inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation], two contrary to section 29C [intending to stir up religious hatred], one contrary to section 29G [possession of material intending to stir up religious hatred] two contrary to section 23 [possession of material intending to stir up racial hatred] and one offence contrary to section 58 Terrorism Act 2000, collecting information likely to be of use to a terrorist], in relation to the White Resistance Manual. On 19 December 2016 he pleaded guilty to eight out of the ten offences and on 22 February 2017 he was sentenced to a total of five years' imprisonment with a 15-year Terrorism Act notification period.
R v Mohammed Addulkadir Osman Mayow and Mohanned Jasim
On 14 April 2014 Mayow was stopped at the Port of Harwich and was subject to an examination under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Police seized from him various media devices including a mobile phone and a laptop. A flag that became associated with Daesh was also found. Mayow was released and no further action taken at the time.
On 14 November 2015 Mayow and Jasim were travelling on a Eurolines coach from London Victoria to The Hague. Immigration control stopped the coach in Dover and both were arrested due to their suspicious behaviour and various media devices reviewed.
Both men interviewed. Mayow said he was travelling to meet his family in The Hague. He denied supporting Daesh. Jasim stated that he met Mayow about a year earlier and they went to the Mosque together. He explained that he had had an argument with his family so he decided to travel with Mayow to Holland [stating he knew that Mayow had family there]. He explained that Mayow had arranged the trip. He also denied supporting Daesh.
Because significant material was found in Dutch and Arabic both men were bailed pending a full examination and translation of the media devices.
When the media devices were examined it became clear that from July 2014 Mayow had been publishing online tweets that glorified Daesh and encouraging others to do the same. One such re-tweet dated 28 August 2014 read 'Lets be clear the Muslims in the khilafah [Daesh] need help, the one who is capable to go over and help the Muslims must go and help. In other messages he had posted links to websites that supported Daesh and encouraged others to watch them and called upon them to support Daesh. On 8 October 2015 Mr Jasim had sent a series of tweets glorifying Daesh military positions.
Mayow was charged with one offence of collecting terrorist information contrary to section 58 Terrorism Act 2000 relating to an electronic version of a file called '44 ways to commit jihad' found on his device in April 2014 and one sample charge contrary to section 1 of Terrorism Act 2006 and six sample charges contrary to section 2 Terrorism Act 2006 which related to his online activity between July 2014 and August 2015. Jasim was charged with two offences contrary to section 1 Terrorism Act 206 relating to on line activity on 8 October 2015.
On 16 December 2016 Mayow pleaded guilty to the charges contrary to section 2 of Terrorism Act 2006, which was accepted by the Crown as they reflected properly his criminality. However, he asserted that his conduct was reckless and not intentional. This was not accepted by the Crown and on 10 February 2017 HHJ Poulet QC at the Central Criminal Court held a Newton Hearing to determine the issue. The Judge found that he acted intentionally and said "as early as April 2014 the defendant was committed to the extremist ideology reflected by material in his possession" and "In all the circumstances I can only conclude from all the material and the totality of the evidence that the purpose of broadcasting this propaganda and publicity was to encourage others to join a terrorist cause and, potentially, to carry out acts of terrorism".
Jasim pleaded guilty to one charge contrary to section 2 Terrorism Act 2006, on the basis that he acted recklessly which was accepted by the Crown.
On 24 February 2017 Mayow was sentenced to five years and two months' imprisonment concurrent on each charge*. Jasim received two years' imprsonment.
*Mayow is currently seeking to appeal the length of his sentence
R v Akeem Samuels
In January 2016 police became aware of an Instagram profile account named abdulhakeem_abdullah which appeared to be supportive of Daesh/Islamic State/ISIS and showed images from the self-styled 'Caliph' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, comments mocking the death of Lee Rigby and support for convicted terrorist Trevor Brooks. After extensive investigation they found that Samuels had activated approximately 63 Instagram and Twitter accounts; however, their content could not be captured because they had been closed down prior to police having knowledge of them.
In February 2016 the account was renamed 'silver_no_gold'. It had approximately 300 followers and continued to depict support for Daesh together with anti-Shia and homophobic rhetoric.
On 9 August 2016 a video was posted on the 'silver_no_gold' account which showed a gloved hand holding up and displaying a zombie type knife, turning it around to show both sides of the blade and then making a stabbing motion downwards towards the bed where the sheath was placed. The video then showed a hard cover black sheath which had been added to the zombie knife sheath on the bed and the word 'Kershaw' inscribed in gold coloured lettering on the sheath. The same gloved hand took out a machete from the sheath and again displayed it, moved it around and showed both sides of the blade. During this time slow Arabic music could be heard playing in the background. The index finger of the right hand extended upwards whilst the machete was being moved around.
On 18 August 2016, Akeem Samuels was arrested and interviewed. He answered no comment to all questions asked.
Investigation showed that Samuels was a prolific user of Instagram and between January 2016 and 9 August 2016, on an almost daily basis, he posted threatening pro-Daesh imagery and rhetoric, speeches by Caliph Al-Baghdadi and fatwas encouraging terrorism. Many of the images he had doctored or enhanced to improve their visual appearance. He also posted imagery and comment that was threatening and intending to stir up religious hatred, and hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, including one message which encouraged violence towards Shia Muslims and a further message which mocked the Orlando shooting massacre.
Samuels was charged with nine sample offences: seven of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1 Terrorism Act 2006 and of publishing material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of religion and sexual orientation contrary to section 29C Public Order Act 1986.
He pleaded guilty to all offences and was sentenced on 28 April 2017 at the Central Criminal Court. HHJ Topolski QC found that he acted intentionally from the beginning and throughout, and giving a full discount for early guilty pleas, sentenced Samuels to four years' imprisonment, concurrent on each offence.
R v Ghulam Hussain
On 6 October 2016 Mr Hussain met with an undercover police officer named “IMY”. He discussed with IMY his intention to travel to Syria to join Daesh and fight for them. He discussed his personal beliefs and his conviction that Daesh had established an Islamic State and that he had a responsibility to support them. He expressed enthusiasm at the opportunity to fight and kill non-believers. He described the actions he had taken to prepare for that trip, contacting ‘brothers’ to arrange passage, fraudulently applying for credit cards to fund the trip, purchasing travel tickets, creating a cover story with family and his employers to cover the trip. He provided the undercover officer with advice regarding his own trip including what to pack, what type of clothing to purchase for travel, how he could secure funding etc. He further provided the undercover officer with £160 cash to assist him to meet the cost of the trip to turkey.
Mr Hussain was arrested in November 2017 and searches of his home recovered evidence of his purchase of tickets to travel to Turkey via Pakistan. Banking evidence confirmed the frauds he had committed, securing credit cards by claiming an inflated income. Evidence from Mr Hussain’s employers and examination of his phone demonstrated that he had taken multiple steps to establish alibis for his trip. In particular he requested leave to care for his mother and researched clinics offering dental work located in Turkey, to account for his travel to the region.
On 24 April 2017 Mr Hussain pleaded guilty to two offences contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006; one in relation to his own plans to travel to join Daesh and the other in relation to the assistance he provided to the undercover police officer to do the same. On 4 August 2017 he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in relation to each count (to run concurrently) with a one year extended licence period. He also received a 15 year Notification Order.
R v Ciaran Maxwell
Between 1 January 2011 and 24 August 2016, Ciaran Maxwell, a serving Royal Marine, researched the manufacture and construction of explosives, acquired the items he needed to make explosive devices and constructed the devices. He stored the items he needed to make the devices, the devices themselves, ammunition, weapons, tools and resources in hides across England and Northern Ireland.
Across 14 of the locations involved in the investigation Mr Maxwell had in his possession, or had constructed, 14 pipe bombs, two anti-personnel directional mines, two explosively formed projectiles (“EFPs”) one with explosive fill, one without, 29 complete firing systems and 33 initiators including two military initiators, 13 military “Igniter Safety Fuze Electric” initiators, three fully constructed improvised detonators and other component parts for improvised explosive devices (“IEDs”). He also had a handgun stored in a hide in Northern Ireland. Of the 14 pipe bombs constructed by Mr Maxwell, four had been deployed in Northern Ireland.
Mr Maxwell had acquired sufficient quantity of materials across England and Northern Ireland to make a further 19 pipe bombs, two anti-personnel directional mines, one EFP, three victim-operated torch IEDs, 34 firing systems and 76 initiators. He had assembled large quantities of chemicals for use in manufacturing explosives and IEDs both in England and Northern Ireland.
Mr Maxwell also had 397 rounds of ammunition subject to licensing restrictions, 137 blank rounds of ammunition, four British Army magazines, 29.27 metres of detonating cord, 5.263 metres of green burning fuse and ten timed power units.
He also engaged in research to create of a library of maps, plans and lists of potential targets for a terrorist attack and engaged in discussions regarding targets and deployments of devices with a convicted dissident republican terrorist.
In addition, Mr Maxwell had a significant cannabis production at one site in England from which he intended to produce cannabis for onward sale.
Further, Mr Maxwell took images of other people’s bank cards and identity documents when he had access to them whilst they were on operations. He did so with the intention of using them in online fraud.
On 3 February 2017 he pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006, possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply contrary to section 5(3) and (4) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and possession of articles for use in fraud, contrary to section 6 of the Fraud Act 2006.
On 31 July 2017 Mr Maxwell was received an extended 23-year sentence composed of 18 years’ imprisonment and a five-year licence period in relation to the terrorist offence. He received concurrent sentences of 18 months’ and two years’ imprisonment in relation to the drugs and fraud offences respectively. A Notification Order was imposed, materials seized were subject to forfeiture and destruction and a confiscation order was made in relation to his available funds.
There is a pending appeal by the defence, in relation to the sentence imposed in this case.
R v Nadeem Muhammed
On 30 January 2017 Mr Muhammed was stopped by security officers at Manchester International Airport (“MIA”) attempting to take a Ryanair flight to Bergamo (Milan) in Italy. His luggage was searched and a viable improvised explosive device or “IED” was found in the base of the case under the lining.
The IED was a crude “pipe bomb” style device containing Double Base Smokeless Propellant (often used in ammunition for firearms) and pins. The device was initiated by connecting the ends of two wires to complete a circuit igniting the propellant.
The police were unable to obtain any evidence to identify a motive for possession of the device on the part of Mr Muhammed. Mr Muhammed maintained that he was unaware of the device which must have been planted on him by a third party.
On 8 August 2017 Mr Muhammed was convicted of possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property contrary to section 3(1)(b) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883. In returning a guilty verdict the jury were satisfied that Mr Muhammed was in possession of the device with intent to detonate it within the confined space of the aeroplane with the intention endangering the lives of the other passengers on board and/or causing serious damage to the aeroplane.
On 23 August 2017 Mr Muhammed was sentenced to an extended sentence of 23 years comprising a custodial term of 18 years and an extension period of five years. In doing so the Judge considered, pursuant to section 30 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2000, whether or not the offence was committed for a terrorist purpose but was not satisfied that such a motive had been proved.
The sentence in this case has been referred as unduly lenient by the Attorney General to the Court of Appeal. A hearing of that application is pending.
R v Noamaan Ejaz
On 29 January 2016 Noamaan Ejaz, a dual UK and Dutch citizen, was stopped at Gatwick Airport in accordance with Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Police seized his laptop and iPhone.
High tech examination revealed a back-up of his iPhone to his laptop on 8 December 2015 which contained WhatsApp messages between himself and two known individuals, his uncle and a friend, thought to be a Danish national. Within the WhatsApp messages Noamaan Ejaz had disseminated nine terrorist publication videos to his uncle and one to his friend, the majority of which were produced by professional media companies for Daesh. All ten terrorist publications were extremely graphic and contained violent imagery including the deaths of prisoners by beheading, shooting, slitting of throats and being deliberately run over and crushed by a tank whilst shackled. Evidence was also found of Noamaan Ejaz having an extremist mindset dating back to 2014. Additionally in November 2015, within days of the Paris terrorist attacks, Noamaan Ejaz messaged his uncle “People posting his slogan on social media #prayforparis. I’ll rather put #fuckparis.”
He was charged with ten offences of disseminating terrorist publications between 25 October 2015 and 8 December 2015, contrary to section 2 Terrorism Act 2006. On 30 March 2017 Noamaan Ejaz he pleaded guilty to each charge on a reckless basis to ten counts and was sentenced to 34 months’ imprisonment, a Notification Order for a period of 10 years and Forfeiture Order was made for his IPhone and laptop.
Aggravating features identified by the Judge were the extremely graphic nature of the videos, the number sent, the fact they were sent to two people and the extent of his mindset which in his judgment demonstrated Noamaan Ejaz’s approval of the contents of the videos. Mitigating features included the fact he was 19-20 at the time of the offences and 21 at sentence, his previous good character, but guilty pleas were not made at the first opportunity, thus limiting his reduction in sentence to 25%.
R v Jade Jasmin Campbell
On 11 August 2016 Jade Campbell downloaded Inspire 1 onto her mobile phone which she saved into the phone’s downloaded folder. Inspire 1 contained three articles of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, namely: Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom; Sending and receiving encrypted messages and What to expect in Jihad. Less than an hour after downloading Inspire 1 she undertook a web search, “Make a Bomb out of Household Chemicals - Wonder how to.” She then conducted further relevant searches between 11-16 August 2016 including searches relating to ISIS, women in ISIS and travel.
She was charged with possessing a publication likely to be useful to a person preparing for or committing an act of terrorism contrary to section 58(1)(b) Terrorism Act 2000 and a passport offence contrary to 36(1) Criminal Justice Act 1925. On 16 March 2017 she pleaded guilty. She proffered a basis of plea that she had downloaded Inspire 1 out of curiosity. This Basis of Plea was not accepted by the prosecution and a Newton Hearing took place on 26-27 April 2017 before HHJ Kinch QC who found that she had not downloaded Inspire 1 out of curiosity.
On 27 April 2017 Jade Campbell was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for the section 58 offence and six months’ imprisonment consecutive for the passport offence; Notification Order 10 years and Forfeiture Order for the relevant devices seized.
Aggravating features included the fact she was on bail at the time of the offences; the content was extreme; activities deliberate and sustained. Mitigating features included her age, pleaded guilty (discount 25%); borderline personality disorder and self-harm/suicidal tendencies; degree of usefulness of the publication; the likelihood of it reaching others and remorse.
R v Saer Hussain
On 28 June 2016 Saer Shaker posted on his open Facebook account a video entitled “Who are the Sahawat?” a reference to a body opposed to ISIS which was produced by various official media outlets including Al-Hayat, Daesh’s official media outlet. The video depicted still images of Sahawat leaders in Iraq with other important officials including former presidents George Bush, Barrack Obama, American officers and a former Sahawat leader. The video showed multiple images of males whose heads were circled in either red or yellow who were subsequently murdered, primarily by being beheaded. The video ended with a line of blindfolded and handcuffed Iraqi officers who were individually shot in the back of the head. At the point of this post being captured it had been viewed 92 times and liked three times.
On 27 January 2017 Saer Shaker posted to on his open Facebook account still images from a video entitled “Knights of Bureaucracy,” which had been published two days earlier by Islamic State’s Ninawa Wilayat. The imagery posted was of four males who were interviewed in the video prior to them completing suicide missions. The caption posted stated, “The striking hour of carrying out a martyrdom operation.” Thereafter Saer Shaker engaged in an online dialogue with an audience who evidently approved of his message.
Further mindset material was located on Saer Shaker’s phone and Telegram account.
He was charged with one offence of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1 Terrorism Act 2006 and one offence of disseminating a terrorist publication contrary to section 2 Terrorism Act 2006. On 29 August 2017 he pleaded guilty to both offences. On 22 September 2017 he was sentenced to a period of two years’ imprisonment per count to run concurrently; Notification Order 10 years and Forfeiture Order [phone].
Aggravating features included: intentional basis of pleas (original reckless basis rejected and then withdrawn); intended to encourage terrorism; no privacy restrictions on his Facebook account; the video in Count 1 was particularly graphic and horrifying; mindset supportive of Islamic State whatever his underlying motive may have been. Mitigating features included his guilty pleas, previous good character; educated and trained, well employed in Syria before leaving; family man and impressive testimonials. Support of Islamic State stemmed from the killings of his father and brother in law by a rival militant group; offending not sophisticated as posts were not concealed nor was his identity; did not target specific audience or attempt to indoctrinate a specific group; did not create material but relayed material created by others.
R v Khalil Maher
Khalil Maher was arrested on 18 April 2017 at Heathrow airport whilst waiting to board a flight to Turkey with an intention to travel onwards to Syria to join two friends who had already made the journey in March 2016, who were known to be fighting against the Assad regime. Following his friends’ departure Khalil Maher had finished university, found employment and obtained benefit to fund his trip and lifestyle once in Syria; booked a return flight to Turkey and limited accommodation, travelled to London from his home in Sheffield in order to travel to Turkey.
He had extensive mindset material which dated back to August 2014, primarily contained within deleted notes on his mobile phone. This included extreme and graphic violence perpetrated by Islamic terrorist groups; warfare in general; civilian casualties in Syria; the use of force to spread Islam; violent jihad as an obligation on Muslims and democracy’s incompatibility with Islam.
He was charged with an offence contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006 (preparation of terrorist acts). On 6 November 2017, after trial , he was unanimously convicted.
The prosecution categorised Khalil Maher as a Level 5 in accordance with R v Kahar  EWCA 568. The aggravating features were his extensive research into terrorist groups in Syria and beyond; lies to his family about the purpose of his trip; sophisticated attempts to disguise his research by cleansing his mobile phone; clear commitment to fight as evidenced by numerous references to martyrdom within multiple deleted notes; communicated with a facilitator(s) in Syria; planned to travel to Syria despite recognising his responsibilities towards his mother and siblings, The duration of Khalil Maher’s conduct spanned nearly 12 months (1 May 2016 -18 August 2017).
The mitigating features included his age (22); good character; radicalised as part of a group of other young men exploring their faith; family circumstances, including the impact of his incarceration on his mother and siblings, two of whom had significant health issues; change of plea, which, albeit late, could not have been easy to do and demonstrated the beginning of the adoption of a more normal and acceptable way of living.
On 6 November 2017 Khalil Maher was sentenced to a period of five years four months’ imprisonment; Extended Licence one year [S236A Criminal Justice Act 2003], Forfeiture Order (£499.80 cash and mobile phones) and a Notification Order for 15 years.
R v Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz
On 26 August 2016, law enforcement officers posing as the managers of Hero Couriers and officers from the Security Service, found a JD Sports draw string bag stuffed under the front seat of a car. The bag contained:
- a pair of black latex gloves;
- a pipe which had, attached to either side, a bolt attached to which were shotgun cartridges. Also contained within the pipe was a small amount of black powder;
- a firearm which had the ‘Beretta’ logo on the handle, and taped to the handle of the firearm with duct tape was another cartridge. This weapon was an air gun but was designed to look and feel like a real gun;
- 9mm ammunition;
- shotgun ammunition; and
- a meat cleaver, with the word ‘Kafir’ carved on to the blade.
The driver of the car, Mr Ali and his friend Mr Hussain were the subject of an ongoing undercover police operation. As a result of what was found in the car, they and Mr Rahman and Mr Aziz were arrested.
On 8 September all four males were charged jointly with one offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, preparation of terrorist acts. The acts in preparation included:
- Mr Rahman purchasing clean/disposable phones and sim cards from eBay, The mobile phones were sent to Mr Hussain and Mr Ali;
- Mr Ali setting up a social media group called the ‘Three Musketeers’ in which Mr Ali, Mr Rahman and Mr Hussain discussed arranging meetings. Mr Rahman gave explicit instructions about using the mobile phones he had purchased on eBay and were untraceable because they were not registered.
- Holding a series of meetings where the group took steps to ensure that they were not overheard, by meeting up and then walking around a local park - ‘walk and talks’;
- chatting on social media about wanting to ‘do something’ and not ‘just talking’;
- holding an overnight meeting on 20/21 August 2016 at which Mr Ali, Mr Rahman, and Mr Hussain were present. During the meeting computer searches were carried out for a video about the Liquid Bomb plot;
- the presence of the items in the JD Sports bag found the car Mr Ali had been driving;
- Mr Aziz’s possession of a samurai sword; and
- Mr Aziz’s downloading of the Telegram account ‘Inspire’, which contains links to Inspire magazine and provides advice and guidance about how to carry out acts of terrorism. Inspire magazine is propaganda magazine produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and contains propaganda and advice about how to carry out terrorist attacks.
All four were found to have extremist material in their possession, either in hard copy (Mr Rahman) or on media devices.
DNA evidence was found that linked Mr Hussain to the items found in the bag, which was found in the car.
After a lengthy and complex trial, a jury unanimously found all four males guilty of preparing to commit a terrorist act.
All four were sentenced to life imprisonment. The minimum terms were specified to be 20 years in the case of each of the first three, and 15 years in the case of Mr Aziz. All four defendants are appealing their conviction, and Mr Aziz is appealing his sentence.
R v Ashaivin Gohill
It was noticed that a social media user Abu Hudaifa was posting material of a concerning nature. The user was identified as Mr Ashaivin Gohill.
On 26 December 2015 a speech called 'So Wait, Indeed We. Along with You Are Waiting' was released by the Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. On 27 December 2015 Mr Gohill posted parts of this speech in English on Facebook which meant that he had specifically identified parts of the speech and translated them or found the translated parts and specifically posted those on Facebook. Mr Gohill has also posted a link to the entire speech in the same posting. The material he posted in English glorified the activities of Daesh, and urged Daesh fighters to continue fighting in the name of Allah.
On 18 February 2016 Mr Gohill posted a web link on Twitter which would enable a reader to access a terrorist publication entitled ‘The Ruling of Insulting the Prophet’.
Mr Gohill was charged with two offences contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006, dissemination of a terrorist publication. Mr Gohill pleaded guilty to both offences on the basis that he was been reckless as to whether the material that he had disseminated would directly or indirectly encourage or induce others to the commission preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
On 19 May he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment on each charge (concurrent); 10 years notification requirements; forfeiture of his laptop, and the Victim Surcharge.
R v Taha Hussain
Over a period of 11 months Mr Hussain used social media to share files and links that when followed took the user to material that promoted violent jihad. Some of the messages were posted to Mr Mohammed Sufiyan Choudry who Mr Hussain knew shared his extreme mind-set. (Mr Choudry was found guilty of encouraging support of proscribed organisation in separate proceedings.)
Mr Hussain said that he was a practising Muslim, and interested in learning about Islam. He said he had acquired the material for the sake of interest and his education. He says that he considered some or skimmed it; there was some which he did not actually look at.
The material Mr Hussain disseminated included a hyperlink to a video file entitled 'Paris Outrage: A Muslim Perspective by Shaikh Faisal'. Mr Hussain sent this to Mr Choudry and others on 15 November 2015 using the broadcast facility on WhatsApp. The message was recovered from Mr Choudry's mobile phone when he was arrested. The audio file was sent two days after the terrorist attacks in Paris had left 130 people dead and 368 injured. The audio file contained a lecture in which the speaker tried to justify the terrorist attacks in France. Mr Hussain said he sent the link because 'it was expressing a viewpoint and therefore potentially of interest'.
Mr Hussain was found guilty of seven charges of disseminating terrorist publications contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and sentenced to four years and six months’ imprisonment on two charges and three years' imprisonment on the remaining five to run concurrently. Mr Hussain will be subject to notification requirements when he is released from custody for a period of 10 years.
R v Mijanul Haque
When Mr Haque was arrested examination of his digital devices revealed that he posted a number of messages providing links to mainstream news articles about Islamic State (IS) activity, including the Charlie Hebdo attack in France and IS activity in Syria. Mr Haque had also posted messages which included links to speeches made by prominent Islamic preachers, including Anwar al-Awlaki and Sheik Faisal. The posts indicated that Mr Haque was clearly very religious and gives opinion and instruction to those recipients in various chat groups of which he was a member. Links to various fatwahs were also posted.
On 2 March 2017 MH was interviewed about the material found and answered ‘no comment’ to all questions asked. On 9 June 2017, Mr Haque was charged with three offences: encouraging terrorism, contrary to s.1 of the Terrorism Act 2006; and two offences of dissemination of a terrorist publication, contrary to s.2 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
The case was listed for trial on 4 December 2017 before HHJ Dodgson. On that date, the original three charges were amended to reflect, in separate charges, the different states of mind (intentional or reckless) with which the three offences charged could be committed. On 6 December 2017 (after the jury had been sworn but before the case had been opened to the jury), Mr Haque entered guilty pleas to three of those six charges admitting, in respect of all three offences, terrorist activity on a reckless basis. Those pleas were not accepted by the prosecution, and the case proceeded to trial in respect of the remaining three charges on an intentional basis. The issue for the jury in respect of these three charges was whether the offender had engaged in the activities (dissemination or encouraging) intending the effect of his conduct to be the direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism (as opposed to being merely reckless as to whether that was the effect of his conduct).
On 13 December 2017 he was convicted of the charge contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act and one of the offences contrary to section 2 of the terrorism Act 2006 and acquitted in respect of the third charge 2, which related to the dissemination under section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 of a terrorist publication entitled ‘Province of Nineveh Media Presents: Blood of Jihad 2’ On 18 December 2017, He was sentenced to a total of three years’ imprisonment and made the subject of a terrorist notification order for a period of 10 years.
R v Samata Ullah
Between December 2015 and his arrest on 22 September 2016, Samata Ullah had produced and uploaded voice modulated instructional videos on how to secure sensitive data and remain anonymous online using encryption programmes. Police tracked him down after being passed intelligence by the Federal Bureau of Investigation who had been handed the information from authorities in Kenya, following another man's arrest. When arrested he had a pair of USB cufflinks with an operating system loaded on to them to conceal a hoard of extremist data, including a blog. He also admitted having a book entitled Guided Missiles Fundamentals AFM 52-31 and an electronic version of Advances in Missile Guidance, Control and Estimation for terrorist purposes. The material found at Ullah’s home address included, but was not limited to, a number of Islamic State propaganda videos including one video which showed the execution of a large number of Christians in orange suits by the sea in Libya.
Evidence was provided to the court detailing Ullah's desire to copy his blog on to a platform in a format that meant it could not be closed down or deleted by the authorities.
On 6 March 2017 Samata Ullah pleaded guilty to five terrorist offences, namely professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation, terrorist training, engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts and two counts of possessing an article for terrorist purposes. On 2 May 2017 he was sentenced to an extended sentence of 13 years comprising an eight-year custodial term and a five-year extended licence.
R v Aabid Ali, aka Darren Glennon
Mr Ali’s digital media was seized following an incident involving his estranged wife. The police found pro-Daesh material on the devices including ‘Inspire 13,’ ‘Palestine, Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience’, ‘Dabiq 11’ and ‘Dabiq 12’. Upon reviewing the documents in detail it was clear that ‘Inspire 13’ and ‘Palestine’ include detailed bomb making instructions of various types. The police also discovered evidence that Mr Ali had viewed numerous YouTube videos and posted comments attributable to him using the Google account registered to him. In interview Mr Ali praised the work of extremist preachers and said the military were justifiable targets.
On 31 March 2017 Ali pleaded guilty to two offences of possessing a document containing information useful for terrorist purposes, contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000 and one offence of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006. On 19 May 2017 he was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court to a total of five years and four months’ imprisonment, with a 15 year notification period.
Mr Ali received credit for his guilty pleas but was not a man of good character and had fostered extremist views for a number of years despite warnings from numerous people. The Recorder of Manchester told Mr Ali this was extremely serious offending and “as things currently stand you will not be diverted from your path, the path chosen by you and your own free will you have shown no remorse, no regret or signs of retreating.”
R v Patrick Kabele
On 20 August 2016, Mr Kabele was stopped by port officers at Gatwick Airport and prevented from boarding a flight to Istanbul, Turkey. His luggage was searched and £3000 in cash was seized along with a mobile telephone which contained hundreds of notes saved into the Outlook calendar.
It was clear from the notes that in November 2015 that Mr Kabele appeared to be resolved to travel to an Islamic country and described his only goal in life as being ‘Hijrah to Darl Islam’, meaning to migrate to the land of Islam. He went on to criticise those Muslims who migrate to ‘Darl-kufr’, the lands of the non-believers, saying that they did it for ‘dunya’ or earthly reasons. By June 2016, his notes suggested that he was becoming more extreme in his mindset and resolved in his intentions. He demonstrated a desire to treat western women disrespectfully, suggesting he would be ‘seeding some women over here UK white’, whilst also developing an interest in martial arts and sword fighting.
From the notes it was shown that in July and August 2016, Mr Kabele prepared himself to travel and engage in fighting with Islamic State and began ‘decluttering’ his life. This involved getting rid of his property, and cancelling his involvement in a family trip. His intentions were plain: ‘I want to fight on the frontline where there’s the heaviest gunfire/thickest action, I got a death wish but not by my own hand’. He continued: ‘I will fulfil my duty and fight even if I might disagree with some of the tactics used (it’s as simple as that)’.
In interview Mr Kabele produced and read a prepared statement in which he said that he had been arrested ‘because of my religious faith as a Muslim’. He described himself as a ‘religious prisoner’. He said that hijrah to a Muslim land was part of his religion, and was an obligation on him. He also said that jihad, which he described as ‘fighting those who don’t believe’ or ‘those who are fighting Muslims’ was also part of his faith. He stated that he did not owe an ‘oath of allegiance’ to this country. He said ‘I will not make any excuses, deviate or soften. Hijrah and jihad are part of my religion period, regardless whether I am persecuted’.
On 1 March 2017 Patrick Kabele, was convicted by a jury at Woolwich Crown Court of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment with an extended licence of four years.
R v Sabbir Miah
On 24 November 2016 a warrant was executed at the home address of Mr Miah and a mobile telephone was seized from his bedroom which he confirmed was his and that no one else uses it.
On 6 December 2016, following a detailed review of the material, Mr Miah was arrested on suspicion of dissemination of a terrorist publication, contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 as three videos and a number of images of concern were found on his Facebook page. He was charged with three offences of disseminating a terrorist publication and released on conditional bail.
On 10 February 2017, Mr Miah was arrested at Forest Gate Police Station for failing to sign on at Forest Gate police Station on six occasions, in breach of his bail conditions. Upon arrest he was found in possession of a Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile telephone, which was an article capable of sending or receiving electronic information via the internet; this was a further breach of his bail conditions.
His mobile telephone was found to contain Instagram and Whatsapp accounts on which he posted videos promoting hijrah in breach of s.2 Terrorism Act. He was charged with a further two offences.
On 16 May 2017 Sabbir Miah pleaded guilty to three charges on the basis of recklessness and two charges on the basis of intentional behaviour.
On 19 June 2017 HHJ Kramer, QC said that posting of material on the internet of a terrorist nature is of national concern, and that Mr Miah’s offending was aggravated by the sustained period of offending, the accessibility of the material through Instagram and Facebook and the continued course of action despite the warning shot of arrest and charge. HHJ Kramer, QC took into account Mr Miah’s age, good character, guilty plea and the reckless basis of plea but indicated that any offending should punish and deter others from offending and that the Pre-Sentence Report highlighted that the actions would have continued had he not been remanded. The sentence passed was one of 18 months’ imprisonment on the first three charges (concurrent on each) and 22 months’ imprisonment on the other two charges (concurrent to each other but consecutive to the first three) making a total of 40 months’ imprisonment.
R v Benjamin Stimson
On 8 August 2015 Mr Stimson travelled from Manchester to Brussels and then from Brussels to Moscow, whereupon it is believed he entered illegally into Eastern Ukraine. Mr Stimson had never travelled overseas before. On 19 October the BBC published an online report and video interview concerning the involvement of British fighters in the conflict in Ukraine. It consisted of a piece to camera by an unidentified male with an accent form the North West of England who was fighting alongside militia groups in Eastern Ukraine. This group was said to be Russian-backed and fighting against the legitimate Ukrainian government forces.
The North West Counter Terrorism Unit launched an investigation when information was given to them that the individual on camera was Benjamin Stimson. On Monday 23 November 2015 Mr Stimson returned to the UK at Manchester Airport. He was arrested and in his possession was a mobile telephone and a rucksack found to contain military clothing and other items, including papers in Russian which indicated Mr Stimson had received treatment in a military hospital in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine.
Mr Stimson was interviewed and made no comment to all questions asked of him. He pleaded guilty to assisting others by becoming a member of the militia opposing the legitimate Ukrainian Government and serving as a soldier within that militia, contrary to section 5(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
On 14 July 2017 he was sentenced for five years’ four months’ imprisonment under section 236A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 with the additional year on licence and 15 years notification under the CJA 2008.
R v Martin Panton
Mr Panton was arrested on 4 September 2016 following a report he had made numerous precursor chemical purchases. As a result of the concerns regarding the material in the property the area surrounding Mr Panton’s home address was evacuated and following a search of the premises a controlled explosion was carried out on two test tubes containing ‘unknown strong acids’ indicating a primary explosive.
A total of 45 digital exhibits were seized from Mr Panton’s address and 79 chemical exhibits. At least 27 chemical and bomb making manuals and similar videos were found on three of the digital devices, which included the Anarchy Cookbook (2000) and the Mujahideen’s Explosive Handbook.
Many chemicals required to make both primary and secondary high explosives as well as low explosives were found in the home address of Mr Panton. Handwritten notes in a notebook relating to instructions for the manufacture of such explosives were also recovered.
Martin Panton was charged with one offence of making an explosive substance contrary to section 4 of the Explosive Substance Act (ESA) 1883, three offences of having an explosive substance contrary to section 4 of the ESA 1883 and 12 offences of possessing a document useful to terrorists contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Mr Panton was interviewed by police and admitted to buying and possessing numerous chemicals at his home address, some of them dangerous. He said he develops fads which started about five months prior to his arrest and that he enjoyed chemistry. He watched videos and conducted much internet research. He had made a number of explosives including HMTD, a highly unstable explosive which he set off in his garden and was surprised at the size of the explosion. The black powders and the black sludge were his, he had made them and there was no other reason for him to have the chemicals or make the explosives other than he was interested in them.
Following guilty pleas HHJ Collier, Recorder of Leeds sentenced Mr Panton to 30 months’ imprisonment concurrent on the four ESA offences and to 18 months concurrent for six section 58 TA offences, totalling four years. The remaining section 58 offences were left to lie on the file.
R v Jabed Hussain
Between 21 March 2015 and 28 August 2015 Mr Hussain made preparations and travelled to Turkey; his intention was to travel to Syria and join and fight for Daesh. He was intercepted by Turkish authorities and deported to the United Kingdom.
Following his return to the United Kingdom on 27 August 2015, he continued to make preparations with the intention of travelling to Syria to join and fight for Daesh. In order that his second trip might be more successful than the first, he sought the assistance of others be believed might be able to help him.
An undercover police officer, known by the name Farooq, was deployed in February 2016 to make contact with Mr Hussain and to establish whether he still harboured a desire to fight for Daesh and to take part in terrorist activity.
Mr Hussain contacted Farooq via SureSpot. He gave Farooq his telephone number and an alias of “Abu Jay”. They discussed surveillance and agreed to meet at Kings Cross. Their meeting was audio recorded and they discussed “going” which Farooq understood to be “going to Syria”. They went on to discuss possible routes of travel.
They continued to communicate and all their conversations were recorded. These recordings, together with other material seized from Mr Hussain, revealed the extent of his hatred for Western society and his avowed intent to take part in terrorist atrocities.
Mr Hussain was arrested and charged with two offences of preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
On 10 November 2016, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment on one charge relating to travelling to Turkey with intention to join Daesh and seven years concurrent on the other charge relating to engaging with Farooq to arrange travel to Syria to join Daesh and made subject to notification requirement for a period of 15 years.
R v Mohammed Abdallah
On 24 June 2014, Mohammed Abdallah travelled from Manchester to Syria, via Libya. On 01 August 2014, Officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Command executed a search warrant at his family home in Manchester, where he had lived with his parents and his brother Abdalraouf Abdallah, and established that Mohammed Abdallah had travelled to Syria.
Both Mohammed Abdallah and his brother Abdalraouf Abdallah had fought in Libya against the Ghaddafi regime in 2011, and Abdalraouf was left paralysed from the waist down. Unable to travel himself due to his injuries, Abdalraouf Abdallah set up a hub at the family home to facilitate the travel of his brother Mohammed and three others (Nezar Khalifa, Stephen Gray and Raymond Matimba) to Syria.In May 2016, Abdalraouf Abdallah and Stephen Gray were convicted of sending funds to Mohammed Abdallah to be used for terrorism purposes, amongst other terrorism offences.
On 16 September 2016, Mohammed Abdallah returned to the UK and was arrested at Heathrow Airport. He was charged with the following three offences: possession of article (a weapon) for terrorist purposes contrary to section 57(1) Terrorism Act 2000, receiving money (£2000) for the purposes of terrorism contrary to section 15(2) Terrorism Act 2000 and membership of a proscribed organisation (ISIS) contrary to section 11(1) Terrorism Act 2000.
The evidence in relation to membership centred on his inclusion on a database of Daesh/Islamic State fighters stolen from Raqqa by an IS defector and provided to Sky News before being obtained by the police. The database contained the Mohammad Abdallah’s personal details as well as specific information such as his specialisation [sniper] and that he had previous experience of ‘fighting Jihad’ [in Libya].
He denied the offences and at his trial at the Central Criminal Court he claimed that he had travelled to Syria to ‘give money to the poor people’. He claimed that he had no knowledge of the group’s plan to travel to Syria to fight, however communications between his brother and the group clearly demonstrated that he was actively involved in obtaining and funding the weapons.
On 07 December 2017 the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all three charges. On 08 December 2017 Mrs Justice McGowan stated that Mohammed Abdallh was committed to the terrorist enterprise and found him to be dangerous. He received a custodial sentence of ten years with an extension period of five years, and was made subject to notification requirements for a period of 30 years.
R v Syed Hoque and Mashoud Miah
On 5 August 2014 Syed Hoque was stopped in accordance with Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 at London Heathrow having returned from Bangladesh. He was in possession of a Samsung smartphone. This device was interrogated and found to contain messages between him, Abu Esa/Isa (believed to be Mashoud Miah) and Mohammed Choudhury who was believed to be fighting for Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria. In short, the messages suggested that Syed Hoque and Abu Issa/Esa had become concerned in an arrangement with others whereby money and other property was made available and was to be made available to Mr Choudhury and others who were involved in terrorist activity. Miah was resident in Turkey and operated a Turkish bank account.
A male called Pervez Rafiq was in contact with Miah. Rafiq was arrested and found to be in possession of a list marked the ‘Abu Esa’ list.This list contained six items that included satellite phones, Sat Nav and a Kestrel wind gauge for long distance rifle target shooting. There was a message at the bottom of the “Abu Esa” list that reads “Anything on this list you can’t get let Abu Esa know so he can arrange it with someone else”.
There was evidence that Miah had telephoned “Swillington Shooting Supplies” in Leeds, suppliers of the wind gauge.
When Miah returned to the UK he was arrested. Both Hoque and Miah were charged with being concerned in an arrangement with others whereby money and other property was made available and was to be made available to those involved in terrorist activity, contrary to section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000. In December 2016 they were found guilty. On 13 January 2017 Hoque received to five years and six months’ imprisonment and Miah received two years and six months’ imprisonment.
R v Mohammed Rehman
On 29 December 2015 Mohammed Rehman was convicted of preparing to commit acts of terrorism contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and being in possession of an article for a purpose connected with a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism contrary to section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and to serve a minimum term of 27 years.
On 10 February 2016, whilst serving his prison sentence, his prison cell was subject to a routine search. A document headed “Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine HMTD”, which is a primary high explosive sensitive to ignition by heat or flame, was recovered. The document contained a step by step guide of the list of chemicals to make the explosive. In interview he admitted he had retained the document from his earlier trial and placed it in an area where he knew it would be searched so he could try and be segregated from other prisoners.
On 24 February 2017 he pleaded guilty to the offence of possession of a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing to commit an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
R v Mary Kaya
Mary Kaya had a Twitter account. Her hash tag was ‘justice@gardenofgold. She intentionally re-tweeted an audio message from the leader of Daesh Amir al Muminin Abu Bakr Al Husseini al-Baghdadi. The audio message was called 'Even If the Disbelievers Despise Such' which was published on 13 November 2014. The content of the speech as a whole was clearly aimed at encouraging its listeners/readers to participate in terrorist activities by using quotes from religious scriptures to seek to persuade those reading or listening that there is an obligation upon Muslims to engage in violent Jihad. It states that those that do not engage in this way face 'divine retribution'.”
Mary Kaya was arrested as part of a wider investigation. Media devices were recovered and interrogated that led to the discovery of this re-tweet. A significant amount of extremist material was found on media devices attributed to her that gave context to the posting of that re-tweet. This included further re-tweets from terrorist publications such as “March Forth whether light or heavy” that promoted violent jihad and video footage of the enemy of Daesh being forced to dig their own graves prior to being murdered. It was also discovered that Mary Kaya had installed software that hid her online activity with privacy and anonymity so that the exact reach of her online activity could not be ascertained.
In interview she maintained that her computer had been ‘hacked’. She was charged with an offence contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and was convicted after trial. On 30 March 2017 she was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years and a notification period of 10 years.
R v Haroon Syed
From April 2016 Haroon Syed was in communication with an online role player using a secure application. It was apparent that he wanted to carry out a terrorist attack. He initially had a professed intention to become a suicide bomber that crystallised into a plan to kill as many ‘Kuffar’ (unbelievers) as possible with a nail bomb. The evidence showed him searching for potential civilian or military targets in London. He requested assistance in in trying to source machine guns, hand guns; suicide vests and bombs. This led to him meeting an undercover role player on two occasions. The first occasion was on 29 May 2016 when they met in a café and discussed the type of bomb he wanted to acquire. In August 2016 he made a number of applications for bank loans between £2,000 and £4,000 which fail. He then asked the online role player if the ‘brother’ can make a bomb for £150. His web history revealed that on 31 August 2017 he was making repeated searches for ‘busy area in London’, Oxford Street and ‘upcoming events in London’. On 1 September 2017 he handed the undercover role player £150 for the bomb. He messaged the undercover role player: ‘Is it possible if the brother can put the timer on for me’ ‘Just in case I put the timer wrong’ ‘And I can tell him what time to put it on for’ ‘In sha allah akhi did you tell him to put lots of nails Inside’. On 8 September 2017 his web history revealed: ‘elton john, hyde park london’, ‘packed places in London’ and ‘Military bases in London’.
Haroon Syed was arrested and his password on his phone that the police seized was ‘ISIS’ Haroon Syed was convicted of preparing to commit acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.The court rejected argument that Haroon Syed was entrapped into committing the offence. On 27 April 2017 he pleaded guilty and on 3 July 2017 he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term to serve of 15 years.
R v Nigel Christopher Pelham
Mr Pelham was reported to the police on 21 March 2016 for posting comments on Facebook that had ‘shocked, angered and disgusted’ the complainant.
A review of his on-line activity was carried out by Sussex Constabulary and it was clear from the captures obtained from his Facebook profile that he was posting material of a threatening, religious and hateful nature and included the following:
- “look at these filthy goat fuckers in immigration street fucking burn all the muzzie filth”
- “what this country needs is bomb a mosque day preferably when is full, the fucking dirty vermin filth need wiping off the planet”
- “…we must burn mosques to the ground when they are full…have a burn a mosque to the ground day, kill a muzzrat day, set a muzzie on fire day…”
- “thinking of having a guy on your bonfire on November 5th, if so help your country by tidying up, so on 5th place a muslim on the top of your bonfire”
The comments were posted directly onto his account and the material was available to any member of the public to view. His posts would regularly receive ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ along with comments from other users.
It was apparent from some of the posts captured that Mr Pelham was aware that his comments were not well-received by everyone who saw them and this is an example of his reaction:
“whoever keeps reporting me because of my rants on muzzie filth at least have the balls to contact me first rather than crawling out from under your muzzie loving stone and reporting me to FB by the way they kept my post so fuck off you spineless piece of muzzie turd”
Mr Pelham’s internet history and communications data were examined and these indicated that he shared the ideology of the English Defence League and viewed Islam as an enemy. A variety of images were found which included:
- images which related to the English Defence League
- one which said “infidel nation - proud enemy of Islam”;
- one which said “Police use brutality to protect the ISIS supporters preaching hate!”
- an image of a Qur’an in flames; and
- one which said “Fuck every single Muslim on planet earth & fuck you if you disagree”.
In his interviews with police he accepted that he had posted the comments but said that his Facebook group was closed. He was, he said, 'not a racist', he was 'a patriot who wanted his country back'. He also said, amongst other things, that he was alcohol dependant, suffered from PTSD and was on medication.
He was charged with eight offences of publishing or distributing written material intended to stir up religious hatred between 24 February 2015 and 16 November 2015, contrary to section 29C of the Public Order Act 1986. On 7 March 2017 Mr Pelham entered guilty pleas. On 16 June 2017 he was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment.
R v Nathan Saunders
Nathan Saunders is a 23-year-old British citizen. On 28 July 2016 at Gatwick Airport he was prevented from travelling to Turkey. He was detained and questioned under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. On that occasion he was in possession of an iPhone 6 and provided the examining officers with the PIN for it.
Following the Schedule 7 examination his passport was seized pursuant to Schedule 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and was later revoked pursuant to the Royal Prerogative.
On 8 February 2017 Nathan Saunders was arrested pursuant to section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 by officers from the North East Counter-Terrorism Unit. At the time of his arrest he was in possession of the same iPhone 6 that was seized during his Schedule 7 examination on 28 July 2016. The phone was examined and found to contain copies of the Daesh publications Rumiyah issues 2, 3, 4 and 5 and a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook. Rumiyah is produced by Al Hayat Media, the media wing of Daesh, a proscribed organisation. It is a terrorist publication containing Daesh propaganda, calls to arms and advice on how to carry out terrorist attacks. The Anarchist Cookbook contains detailed instructions on how to make viable explosive substances and improvised explosive devices. The web browser contained bookmarks for websites selling hunting knives, a website hosting Daesh beheading videos, a link to the Daesh publication Dabiq 9 and a link to a recipe for petroleum jelly.
Nathan Saunders was charged with five offences concerning the collecting of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. On 25 May 2017 he pleaded guilty to all five charges and was sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment.
R v Ummariyat Mirza, Zainub Mirza and Madihah Taheer
On 29 March 2017, Ummariyat Mirza and Zainub Mirza, who are brother and sister, were travelling by car together and were stopped by armed police. Mobile telephones found in the car, as well as others seized during subsequent searches, were examined and a significant quantity of relevant mind-set material found on them.
The Mirza siblings had been sharing mind-set material since January 2017 and this had quickly escalated both in terms of the quantity and nature of the shared material. The majority of videos were shared by Zainub Mirza to Ummariyat Mirza. Messages obtained demonstrated, for example, that they shared extremist material and praised killings carried out by Islamic State. It also became clear that Ummariyat Mirza and his wife, Madihah Taheer, had been sharing mind-set material since March 2015.
The volume and nature of the material and supportive comments sent by Zainub Mirza fortified Ummariyat Mirza in his radical beliefs and he began to prepare to commit an act of terrorism in the United Kingdom, although there was no evidence of direct encouragement. He bought a plastic knife and trained by using it on a dummy, which was seized at the address where he and wife lived. He also bought a steel knife using his wife’s credit card with her knowledge and agreement after they had discussed the purchase over a period of some days. He researched how to conceal a weapon and then bought rope to make a covert harness. The steel knife was recovered by police from his bedroom; it had rope (Paracord) attached to it, so it could be carried over the shoulder and concealed under clothing. Searches conducted on Ummariyat Mirza’s devices also revealed that he had researched potential targets for an attack in the UK including a military base in Birmingham and Jewish areas of the country.
Ummariyat and Zainub Mirza were both charged on 5 April 2017. Ummariyat Mirza was charged with an offence contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006 and Zainub with five offences of disseminating terrorist publications contrary to section 2 Terrorism Act 2006.
The discovery of incriminating material on the seized devices resulted in Madihah Taheer, who was in the late stages of pregnancy, being arrested on 24 April 2017. Her mobile telephone was seized from her. Analysis of her messages demonstrated that she was a supporter of the so-called Islamic State and that she was aware and supportive of her husband in his aspirations to commit a terrorist attack. She provided her bank details to him for the purchase of the steel knife. She was also involved in the acquisition of a training dummy that was of an acceptable standard to her husband.
Madihah Taheer was charged on 25 April 2017 with an offence contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006.
Ummariyat Mirza and his sister Zainub Mirza both pleaded guilty just before they were due to go to trial in October 2017. Madihah Taheer pleaded not guilty to a charge of assisting her husband in preparing to commit an act or acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and she was convicted after trial. On 13 December 2017 at Woolwich Crown Court Ummariyat Mirza received an extended sentence of 21 years’ imprisonment, Zainub Mirza was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment and Madihah Taheer to 11 years’ imprisonment.
R v Robert Clark
Mr Clark came to the attention of West of England Counter Terrorism Unit in July 2016 when he had disclosed that he was considering travelling to Syria to fight for the Kurds. Investigations were conducted into his background and his social media activity and this showed that he had links to groups supporting the Kurds, Peshmerga volunteers and the YPG. Officers met with Mr Clark on four separate occasions during August and September 2016. They discussed with Mr Clark his reasons for wanting to travel and the risks of travelling to Syria. He was also served with an ACPO guidance leaflet advising against travel to the region. The last meeting took place on 8 September during which Mr Clark informed the officer that he had booked a flight to Jordan, leaving London Heathrow on 13 September 2016.
On 13 September 2016 at 16.25 hours Mr Clarke was detained outside gate 23 Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 by Metropolitan Police officers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.When stopped Mr Clark was holding his mobile telephone in his hand and he was seen by the officers to be navigating the screen menu. He was asked to pass the officers his phone and he refused to do so. An officer managed to get hold of the phone and took it away from Mr Clarke. Mr Clarke was then detained and taken to an examination room.
Once in the examination room Mr Clark had his duties under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000 explained to him. Mr Clark requested that the duty solicitor was called and asked to represent him in the examination. The duty solicitor attended and the examination began. Mr Clark confirmed that he understood his duties under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000. He was asked for the PIN number for his mobile phone and he informed the officers that he was unable to remember it. He then informed the officers that the PIN number was 1234. This was entered into the phone and it failed to unlock the phone. He then informed the officers that he couldn’t remember the PIN. After consultation with his legal representative, he said that the phone was accessed with his fingerprint. This method was tried and again failed to unlock the phone. Mr Clark then said that the officers must have dropped the phone. The interview ended without the phone being accessed.
On 7 December 2016 Mr Clark was charged with failing to comply with a duty imposed under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000. On 14 December 2016, he pleaded guilty. On 4 January 2017 he was sentenced and he received a one year community order and a one year foreign travel prohibition.
R v Atzaz Khan
In early 2015 investigations by the police showed an active Twitter account created on 8 February 2015 in the name of ‘AtzazKhanSalafi with the Twitter handle @atzazkhan26’. The account had a linked email address of firstname.lastname@example.org and a mobile number associated to Mr Atzaz Khan.
When an evidential capture was made of it, the account had 73 followers. However its security settings were such that it was open to the public to view.
On 6 June 2015, Mr Khan re-tweeted a link to a 20 minute video English language video produced by Al Hayat Media Centre (the media/propaganda arm of ISIS). The central theme of the film was the continuity of violent jihad amongst Islamists traced through the Balkan states and the conflicts in that region in the 1990s to the current day conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
On 11 June 2015, he re-tweeted a link within a Tweet from a Twitter account with the handle @O_xxxlz with an Arabic script username. The link itself was to an Arabic video on YouTube. It contained extremely graphic and violent pro-ISIS footage.
The @atzazkhan26 account was apparently suspended by Twitter in the middle of June 2015.
On 6 July 2015. Mr Khan then created another Twitter account in his own name with the handle ‘@omkhitab’. (Omar Khitab was a senior commander of the Taliban). The opening of the account was heralded with a Tweet reading “My third account after kuffar suspended my account”. The cover photo for this account was an image of three armed males, one of whom is the leader of a Militant Jihadist group. As with the previous account, activity on it consisted exclusively of retweets in support of ISIS and violent Jihad in Syria and accordingly, as before, its purpose appeared to glorify terrorism. At the time of the evidential capture of the material on it had 159 followers. It was also publically accessible. By that date, the account had tweeted 1829 times, and had 674 liked Tweets.
On Monday 7 March 2016 Mr Khan was arrested. He was interviewed and admitted posting the material but said that he was carrying our research. On 15 November 2016 he was charged with six counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced on 20 April 2017 to 12 months’ imprisonment and a 10 year notification order.
R v Shamim Ahmed
In 2014 Shamim Ahmed bought tickets to fly to Turkey. It is believed that his family found out and confiscated his passport preventing him from travelling. Later analysis of Mr Ahmed’s hi-tech devices showed that, prior to his travel, he was viewing material on YouTube which was pro-Daesh and sympathetic to their cause.
Mr Ahmed first came to the attention of the police in January 2015 when he was arrested for making online and telephone threats against staff at a book shop in London which at the time was stocking the Charlie Hebdo magazine. Following on from this, in May 2015 Mr Ahmed was stopped from handing out anti-democracy leaflets outside a local polling station during an election. He was charged, on 16 May 2015, with offences contrary to the Malicious Communications Act 1978. On 12 October 2015 Mr Ahmed was found guilty of these offences and on 9 November 2015 he was sentenced to 20 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work. It was a condition of Mr Ahmed’s probation order that he was prohibited from travelling abroad without the permission of the Probation Service.
On 27 November 2015 Mr Ahmed travelled (with the permission of the Probation Service) with his family to the Sylhet region of Bangladesh to attend his sister’s wedding. He returned to the UK on 26 December 2015 and, whilst at the airport, an examination under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was conducted. His phone was downloaded and it showed that whilst in Bangladesh he had used a new sim card with the telephone number ending *391. It also showed that a number of photographs of Daesh fighters, images of beheadings and videos containing Daesh propaganda.
On 9 January 2016 Mr Ahmed bought a ticket to fly on 11 January 2016 from London Gatwick to Sabiah Goken Airport, Turkey and a return flight with British Airways to fly from Istanbul to Gatwick on 16 January 2016. Before Mr Ahmed left his home address he contacted the Probation Service to inform them that he could not attend his scheduled meeting with them on 11 January 2016 as he had a meeting at the Job Centre. A new appointment was given to him for 12 January 2016. Mr Ahmed did not mention anything to the Probation Service regarding his intention to travel.
Mr Ahmed was subject to an examination contrary to Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 200 as he went to board the flight. When questioned Mr Ahmed informed the officer that Istanbul was his final destination and that he was travelling there to meet women that he had met through the website ‘Match.com’ (Match.com confirmed that they do not offer their services in Turkey). He said that he was going to stay at a hotel and he produced documents in support of the booking. Mr Ahmed confirmed that he had paid for the trip himself. After the questioning was concluded Mr Ahmed was allowed to board the flight.
On 12 January 2016 after Mr Ahmed failed to return home and he was reported as a missing person. On 13 January 2016 Mr Ahmed flew from Ataturk Airport to Gaziantep Airport. On 13 January 2016, in a WhatsApp message with his sister, he said that he was not going to come home.
On 14 January 2016 Mr Ahmed was detained at Oncupinar Border Crossing. On 16 January 2016 Mr Ahmed was put onto a plane by the Turkish Authorities to return to the United Kingdom. Mr Ahmed was arrested upon his return.
An individual was stopped at Sydney Airport on 7 February 2016. He was in possession of a mobile phone which was subsequently assessed by an officer from the Australian Border Force. An analysis of his phone showed that he had been in contact with Mr Ahmed when he had been in Bangladesh on the number ending *391 and they had discussed the best place to travel to, to fight for Daesh and what items to take with him.
On 28 September 2016.Mr Ahmed was charged with one offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, one year licence and 15 years notification order.
R v Sagheer Hussain
On 7 August 2015 Sagheer Hussain came to the attention of the police as a result of a tweet he made giving a link to a lecture on YouTube. Research conducted by the North Eastern Counter Terrorism Digital Investigation Team into Sagheer Hussain’s YouTube account identified a number of videos containing speeches in support of Islamic State. The YouTube account was connected to a Google Plus account which contained a number of videos similar to those he had posted on YouTube. The Google Plus account also contained comments made by Sagheer Husain above the videos he had posted. Many of the comments demonstrated support for ISIS and the first one was posted only five days after the Charlie Hebdo attack. In addition to the postings there was evidence of a large number of Google searches having been made on the laptop used by Sagheer Hussain. The searches were for such topics as ‘ISIS executions’, ‘James Foley execution’, ‘Islamic state Mujahideen killing crusader Alan Henning’ and ‘bestgore.com’.
Sagheer Hussain also posted three videos on Google Plus that were in support of Daesh as they encouraged others to join Daesh and encouraged acts of terrorism.
On 14 January 2016 Sagheer Hussain was arrested and later charged with three offences of dissemination of a terrorist publication, contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was found guilty of all three offences following a trial. The Recorder of Leeds Lord Justice Peter Collier QC found that he had posted the material intentionally and intended to encourage others to commit acts of terrorism. Over 22 months of offending there had been over 25,000 views. He had conducted over 3,000 searches for ‘jihad’, 2,000 for ‘ISIS’ and 200 for ‘beheadings’. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and a 15-year notification order.
R v Damon Smith
On 20 October 2016 Damon Joseph Smith abandoned a black Adidas rucksack in a carriage on a Jubilee Line tube train which was found by two members of the public. This led to the train and platform being evacuated at North Greenwich Underground Station. The rucksack contained a suspect viable device which was rendered safe by cutting a wire.
The device was examined by the Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL) who confirmed that it was a viable improvised explosive device. It had a live power supply with an improvised initiator, a modified timing device and ball bearings which had been positioned around the device to have an added anti-personnel effect. Thankfully the initiator failed.
Damon Smith was identified from CCTV footage and his fingerprints were recovered from five component parts of the device. His DNA was also positively identified on nine areas of the device and rucksack.
On 21 October 2016 Damon Smith was arrested During a search of his home address officers found sparklers and tissue paper residue from a ‘dummy run’ he had conducted. A number of hi-tech devices were recovered and examined and the material that was recovered indicated that Damon Smith had a fascination with firearms and violence.
In interview he admitted making the device and leaving it on the tube train. He said that he did not intend to harm anybody and that it was meant to be a prank.
On 26 October 2016 he was charged with one offence contrary to section 3 (1) (b) of the Explosives Substances Act 1883. He pleaded not guilty. He suffers from Asperger’s and expert evidence was called in respect of this. He was convicted after trial and on 26 May 2017 he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.
He is currently appealing the length of sentence.
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R v Tarik Hassane, Suhaib Majeed, Nyall Hamlett and Nathan Cuffy
Between July 2014 and October 2014 Tarik Hassane, aged 22, and Suhaib Majeed, aged 21, both from West London, plotted to carry out at least one, and probably multiple, terrorist murders using a silenced firearm. Their most likely targets were police officers or servicemen in London.
Mr. Hassane, who was studying medicine in Khartoum, and Mr. Majeed, physics undergraduate at Kings College London, devised their plot using a variety of secure and encrypted systems to communicate. When discussing key aspects they would often use code words in an attempt to disguise their true purpose. Their preparations included the sourcing of the all-important gun, a moped and a storage unit.
The plot was for terrorist purposes linked to ISIL. Mr. Hassane and Mr. Majeed both possessed mind-set material, providing insight into their ideology, and into the essential terrorist purpose underlying the plot. This ideology was confirmed by Mr. Hassane pledging allegiance to ISIL in July 2014, and by their reaction to an ISIL issued fatwa which sanctioned violent action against the West.
On 23 September 2014 two of their criminal associates, Nyall Hamlett, aged 25, and Nathan Cuffy, aged 26, supplied Mr. Majeed with a gun, silencer and ammunition, a combination described in court as "an assassin's weapon". Having collected these items Mr. Majeed took them back to his home address and almost immediately on his return he sent a message to Mr. Hassane which said "Got it".
In the evening of 24 September police officers executed a search warrant at Mr. Majeed's home address. On forcing entry to the property, the gun, silencer and ammunition were thrown from Mr Majeed's bedroom window. Mr. Majeed, Mr. Hamlett and Mr. Cuffy were all arrested.
Mr. Hassane flew back to Heathrow on 30 September 2014. Between 1 and 5 October, he conducted online reconnaissance of a police station and a Territorial Army barracks, intending to pursue his murderous aims in spite of his co-conspirator's arrest. He was, however, prevented from doing so when he was himself arrested on 7 October.
Mr. Hassane pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum term of 21 years. Mr Majeed, Mr. Hamlett, and Mr. Cuffy pleaded guilty before or during the trial to a number of charges of possessing or supplying the firearm and ammunition that was to be used in the plot. Cuffy also pleaded guilty to possessing other firearms that were recovered from an address linked to him. Mr. Majeed was convicted of conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years. Hamlett and Cuffy received terms of imprisonment totalling 6 years and six months and 11 years respectively.
R v Tareena Shakil
Tareena Shakil, 26 years old, was of previous good character. She is a UK national with a two year old son. On Friday 24 October 2014 her father Mohammed contacted the police to say she was missing from the family home with her then 18 month old son. Having been reported missing by her family the police went to her home address and found that she had left a handwritten message which read "Don't be sad. I'm keeping it short and sweet to prevent my own tears. We WILL meet again and I'll be looking forward to that day all my life. Love you forever xx Remember to make dua xx".
Between July and October 2014 Ms Shakil had become prolific on social media, putting out numerous tweets and imagery that suggested she supported Daesh. On 19 October 2014 (the day before her departure from the UK), she displayed clear support for Daesh by posting a twitter profile with Daesh supporting iconography and a post that read 'if people don't like the current events in Sham to take to arms and not the keyboard'.
On 20 October 2014 she left the UK with her son, arriving in Turkey before onward travel to Ar Raqqa in Syria where she joined Daesh. She had access to both firearms and the internet and she maintained contact with family members in the UK where she variously glorified Daesh and spoke of the possibility of martyrdom and marrying a Daesh fighter. This included her sending images of firearms to her family and her son wearing a balaclava with the ISIS logo.
However, on 7 January 2015 she left Raqqa with her son and made her way to the Turkish border where she was arrested by Turkish authorities. Her motive for and method of doing so may never be known. She explained in police interview that she had travelled to Turkey for a holiday before being kidnapped by ISIS, and that all the messaging she sent to her family were done by ISIS for publicity.
She was charged with one offence of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and one offence of belonged to a proscribed organisation, namely ISIS, contrary to section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000. She was convicted after trial and received 4 years' imprisonment for membership of a proscribed organisation and 2 years' imprisonment to be served consecutively for encouraging terrorism.
R v Ayman Shaukat, Alex Nash, Kerry Thomason and Lorna Moore
On 10 August 2014 Kerry Thomason drove her husband to the airport in full knowledge of his intention to travel to Syria and also purchased him a laptop the day before his travel.
Ayman Shaukat engaged in coded communications with two men and also assisted them in their travel to Syria. On 23 August 2014, he drove a male called Mr Aslam to the airport, in full knowledge of Mr Alsam's ambition to fight for Daesh and subsequently arranged for the disposal of Mr Aslam's property.
Lorna Moore also knew the purpose of Mr Aslam's travel, evidenced in a number of ways but most clearly in a voice recording she made of them speaking before his travel, where she says she won't report him to the police in relation to him 'going out to fight'.
Mr Shaukat then drove another male, Alex Nash, to the airport, arranged funding for his travel and arranged the subsequent disposal of his property. Mr Nash travelled with the intent to join ISIL, evidenced by extensive communications, which he subsequently admitted.
Mr Shaukat was charged with two offences contrary to section 5(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and Ms Thomason was charged with one such offence in relation to the assistance they gave to others to Syria. On his return to the UK Mr Nash was charged with one offence contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006 in relation to his own travel. Ms Moore was charged with one offence contrary to s38B of the Terrorism Act 2000.
At trial Ms Thomason admitted her involvement immediately and the Judge found that she had been a victim of a violent and dangerous relationship. She was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, suspended for two years, for her role in her husband's travel.
Ms Moore was found guilty after trial. The Judge found that she herself had intended to travel to Syria with her children to join her husband. For failing to notify the police as to her husband's terrorist activity she was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment.
Mr Nash admitted that he was travelling to join the conflict in Syria and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, taking into account a related sentence he had already served.
Mr Shaukat was convicted after trial of both charges. The Judge found him to be a ringleader and organiser with entrenched violent extremist views, referring to his "dedication to the cause" when finding that he satisfied the legal test of dangerousness. He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment with an extended licence term of five years.
Ms Moore and Mr Shaukhat's sentences are currently being appealed.
R v Abubakar Abubakar
Abubakar Abubakar was charged with possessing a document containing information of a kind likely to be of use to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000. The document in question was a magazine called 'Smashing Borders - Black Flags from Syria'. Within this document was an article entitled, 'The 22 drone evasion tactics of AQIM' which provides advice on how to avoid detection and attacks by drones. An expert report was obtained from an RAF Officer who concluded that the majority of the tactics, techniques and procedures suggested were both credible and feasible as methods to counter drones and also to counter surveillance of any kind; the information would therefore be useful to a terrorist. Abubakar pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment suspended for 24 months. He was made the subject of a 24 month supervision order and a 10 year notification requirement.
R v Forhad Rahman, Adeel Brekke and Kaleem Kristen Ulhaq
All three defendants assisted a male called Aseel Muthana leave the UK so that he could join his older brother in Syria and participate in the ongoing conflict.
Mr Rahman was 21 years old and first met Mr Muthana via social media. They became friends and met up on more than one occasion. Mr Rahman paid for a passport service for Mr Muthana, his coach ticket from Cardiff to Gatwick and his flight from Gatwick to Cyprus. Mr Muthana travelled from Cyprus on to Syria, from where he has never returned.
Mr Brekke was 19 years old at the relevant time. He purchased a number of items over the internet, such as camouflage clothing, intending that Mr Ulhaq would take these items with him. A number of computer searches including 'Groups in Syria 2014' and 'Military bases in Syria' were also carried out on Mr Brekke's computer, which either Mr Brekke did or he allowed Mr Muthana to do. Mr Brekke looked after a bag for Mr Muthana, which he collected before he left the UK to travel to Syria.
Prior to leaving the UK, Mr Muthana and Mr Brekke made a video of themselves on a hill near Cardiff in possession of an imitation firearm. Mr Muthana is heard to say 'If you're watching this I'm probably dead, or I'm probably a legend or something…' He said he wanted to sing Jihadi nasheeds (religious songs), but did not appear to know any. At one point he chuckled and said in Arabic 'The Islamic State in Cardiff and Iraq and Shaam' and 'It's like a training camp up here'
Mr Ulhaq was 20 years old at the relevant time. He provided Mr Muthana with valuable advice via online discussions, before and after Mr Muthana left the UK. The advice demonstrated that despite his youth, he had a great deal of knowledge of the ongoing conflict in Syria and a network of contacts, which could be used by others seeking to become involved in the conflict.
Mr Ulhaq also arranged to send money to a social media user, whom he had only met online but believed was participating in the ongoing conflict in Syria. The conversation was in code, but it was clear that the money was to buy ammunition for use in the ongoing conflict in Syria. When chatting to the social media user Mr Ulhaq expressed his own desire to travel to Syria.
All three were charged with one offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in respect of the help they gave to Mr Muthana, and Mr Ulhaq was also charged with one offence contrary to section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in relation to the funding arrangement. All three were found guilty after a trial. Mr Rahman was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. Mr Brekke was sentenced to four years' and six months' imprisonment. Mr Ulhaq was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for assisting Mr Muthana, and one year's imprisonment, to run concurrently, for sending money to the social media user. Mr Rahman and Mr Ulhaq were made subject to notification requirements for 15 years and Mr Brekke for 10 years.
Mr Ulhaq is appealing his sentence.
R v Blaise Tchoula Thcouamo
On 1 December 2015 Mr Tchoula Tchouamo arrived at London City Airport on a flight from Paris. He was questioned by Border Agency Officers (BAOs), who were concerned that his passport might be a forgery.
BAOs requested assistance from the police. The police officers repeatedly explained to Mr. Tchouamo that checks were being carried out in respect of his passport and that this was a normal procedure. Mr. Tchouamo repeatedly told the police officers that he did not recognise their authority and was aggressive and shouting.
After BAOs had confirmed that there were no issues with his passport, Mr. Tchouamo was shown a copy of the 'Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000 Public Information' leaflet. Using the leaflet officers repeatedly explained the Schedule 7 procedure, but Mr Tchouamo would not cooperate. Mr. Tchouamo had his rights and obligations repeatedly explained to him, but he continued to refuse to cooperate, acting in an obstructive manner, not acknowledging the officers and not answering their questions.
He was arrested for 'wilfully failing to comply with a duty imposed by Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and was subsequently charged with one offence contrary to paragraph 18 (c) of schedule 7.
Mr Tchouamo pleaded not guilty and his trial was heard at Westminster Magistrates' Court where he repeatedly refused to recognise the jurisdiction of the court. He was found guilty and was fined £300 and ordered to pay costs in the sum of £350 and the Victim Surcharge.
R v Adam Barik
On Tuesday 2 February 2016 Mr. Barik was stopped at Heathrow Airport, having just arrived from Istanbul. Mr. Barik was informed that he had been selected for an examination under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, and was escorted to an examination room.
Mr. Barik was given a copy of the public information leaflet about Schedule 7 examinations and confirmed that he understood his rights and duties.
Mr. Barik and his property were searched and his finger prints were taken. He replied 'no comment', to all of the questions that were put to him. He was reminded of his rights and duties under Schedule 7 and that he would be committing an offence if he chose not to answer the questions. Mr. Barik confirmed that he understood and continued to answer 'no comment' to all questions.
Mr. Barik was arrested for wilfully obstructing an examination under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was interviewed under police caution with his solicitor present and provided a prepared statement. He said that he had not cooperated with the schedule 7 examination so that he could consult a solicitor in person rather than on a police telephone and explained he had been doing aid work and that he wanted to stay in the UK with his wife and child.
He pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates' Court. In mitigation his solicitor explained that he had followed legal advice, and he had wanted to answer the questions and plead guilty at an earlier stage. He was fined £350, and ordered to pay costs of £250 and Victim Surcharge of £45.
R v Junead Khan and Shazib Khan
On 14 July 2015 Junead Khan and his younger uncle Shazib Khan were arrested. Investigation revealed that at various times between August 2014 and their arrest they had been intent on travelling to Syria to join the proscribed organisation Islamic State in Levant (ISIL). Junead Khan had a copy of 'A brief guide to the Islamic State' published in 2015 and (among other items) a list giving the currency exchange rates in ISIL. He had also a compiled a list of the clothing he would need to take attempting to disguise the significance of it by portraying it as a clothing list for Umrah (pilgrimage) even though it contained cold weather clothing such as boots, winter coat and gloves. Shazib Khan had bought items of clothing and equipment such as a rucksack, gloves and combat trousers but most tellingly had had numerous KIK conversations with individuals already with ISIL in which he set out his aspiration to join them and to 'seek shahada' (martyrdom).
On 11 May 2015 Junead Khan had started work as a delivery driver. This work brought him near to armed forces bases including USAF bases in Norfolk. Examination of his phone following arrest revealed messaging on 5 July 2015 in which he was told by another individual that he could get him addresses of British soldiers or that he could tell him how to make a bomb. Junead Khan told him that 'When I saw these us soldiers on road it just looked simple but I had nothing on me or would've got into an accident with them and made them get out the car'. The other individual says 'That's what the brother done with Lee Rigby' and that he has pipe bomb instructions and a manual for a pressure cooker bomb for back up should the attack go wrong. Junead Khan says 'Yes brother Mujahid style, accident than attack'. Examination of his phone also revealed instructions on how to make a pressure cooker bomb and an email he had sent on 7 July 2015 (via Amazon UK) to an Italian company suppliers of the Ontario SP1 marine combat knife in which he asks how long delivery of the knife would take and whether they deliver to the UK. This make of knife had been included in a 'wish list' that the police recovered from Junead Khan's bedroom.
Both men were charged with acts in preparation for terrorism contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in relation to their plans to join ISIL and were convicted after trial. Junead Khan alone faced a second charge of acts in preparation for terrorism contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in relation to his plan to attack military personnel and was also convicted of this offence after trial. Shazib Khan was sentenced to 7 years' imprisonment with an extended licence period of 5 years. Junead Khan was sentenced to 7 years' imprisonment for this offence but it was concurrent to the sentence for his second offence for which a life sentence was imposed with a minimum term of imprisonment to be served of 12 years.
R v Zafreen Khadam
In early 2015 a complaint was made to police that a person with the Twitter account @PRINCESSKAFAH was utilising it as a tool to post Islamic State propaganda and encourage others to join the Islamic State and instigate acts of violence. The user of the account was later identified as Zafreen Khadam residing in the Sheffield area. Ms Khadam was found to have opened 14 twitter profiles during the period between 25 February 2015 and 27 March 2015. The accounts were later suspended by Twitter due to the nature of the extreme content she was posting.
One such tweet provides a link to the Dabiq series issues 1-7. Another link took the reader to 'a web based Islamic State document'. This document sought to justify the activity of the Islamic State (IS) and warns various countries regarding the threat of violence from IS. The document specifically targets France, America, Tunisia, Algeria, The Yemen, the Jewish religion and England amongst others. The document also encourages the online dissemination of IS literature in order to support its cause. It makes specific reference to the sending of IS videos, pictures and the use of social media to spread IS literature. The web page states that at the time of evidential capture the document had been viewed on 1464 occasions.
A further tweet captured contained a link to an IS video displaying training of young children (ISIS video production). The video contains direct threats of violence made by two young children dressed in military clothing, with one child stating "I will be the one who slaughters you, O kuffar. I will be a mujahid, insha'allah." The second child states "We're going to kill you, O kuffar. Insha'allah we'll slaughter you".
Ms Khadam also used the social media application WhatsApp to send material to various contacts. The material was pro IS in nature and the most disturbing of the videos sent was the execution video of a Jordanian pilot. The video is entitled 'WARNING, EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO_ ISIS burns hostage alive1'. This video is 22 minutes and 34 seconds in length. Following the footage of the Jordanian pilot's death a number of other pilots are shown on screen. Each pilot is shown with a photo, latitude and longitude co-ordinates of their home address and rank. The caption shown with each pilot is 'WANTED DEAD'.
In addition there were in excess of 2000 messages exchanged with a man who purports to be a fighter in Syria. In the exchanges Ms Khadam indicated that she intended to marry him and move to Syria.
Ms Khadam was charged with 10 offences of dissemination of terrorist publications contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. She was convicted after trial of all ten charges and received a 4 years' and 6 months' imprisonment.
She is currently appealing her sentence.
R v Mohammed Shaheryar Alam
On 19 July 2015 Mr Alam sent a link to a video entitled "Hadiths referring to ISIS" to two people, using Paltalk messenger. The link was accompanied by messages encouraging the recipient to watch the video stating, "watch this video regarding ISIS in prophesy." The video describes the rise of Daesh (ISIS) in the Sham region as part of prophesy leading to the "end of times" and the return of "Mahdi". It does so by quoting a series of hadiths (a report describing the words, actions, or habits of the prophet Muhammad) and then demonstrating how those scriptures have been fulfilled. In the background it features footage well known members of Daesh and scenes of fighting.
Mr Alam was charged with disseminating a terrorist publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 on the basis that he was reckless as to whether it would encourage the commission or preparation of a terrorist act. He was convicted after trial and sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment and was made subject to notification requirements for a period of 10 years. In passing this sentence the judge noted that Mr Alam knew that the video would be interpreted as endorsing Daesh, believed his recipients to be devout Muslims and was reckless as to whether they would be encouraged to commit an act of terrorism. However he was also of good character and his diagnosed mental health problems may have contributed to his poor judgment.
R v Mohammed Moshin Ameen
Between March 2015 and November 2015 Mr Ameen sent approximately 8,000 tweets using 16 different Twitter accounts in 42 different names. A significant proportion of these messages expressed support for Daesh and at least 250 encouraged the commission of a terrorist act or invited support for Daesh.
Mr Ameen was charged with five offences of encouraging a terrorist act contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, one offence of disseminating a terrorist publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and one offence of inviting support for a proscribed organisation contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The five charges contrary to section 1 were specimen counts. The tweets, looked at individually or when taken as a whole, amounted to a sustained effort indirectly to encourage others to engage in terrorism. They included messages which glorified those who support and have acted in support of Daesh, celebrate acts of terrorism by Daesh and encourage the emulation of terrorist actions by establishing religious and social grounds for terrorist action, portraying those who engage in such action as role models and celebrating a view of the future which, by its nature, could only be achieved by terrorist action. The charge contrary to section 2 related to a Daesh propaganda video entitled "For The Sake of Allah" which shows Daesh fighters in combat and is set to a seductive melodic chant with repetitive words which are sung in English and superimposed in English over the footage to the music. This video constitutes one of the first examples of an English nasheed, promulgated by Daesh, to have been seen within the UK. The charge contrary to section 12 related to two messages inviting the reader to give "bayah" (an oath of allegiance) to Daesh.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment and was made subject to notification requirements for a period of 15 years. The judge noted that the offending was aggravated by the explicit and intentional nature of the encouragement and by the persistence with which it was pursued.
R v Nadir Sayed
Mr Syed and two others were jointly charged with an offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 for their suspected involvement in a plot to behead a member or members of the public in the days around Remembrance Sunday in 2014. Nadir Syed was convicted after trial and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 15 years. (One of the others was acquitted and the jury were unable to reach a verdict in respect of the third.)
R v Ibrahim Anderson and Shah Jahan Khan
Both males were part of a group distributing leaflets on Oxford Street in August 2014 inviting support for the caliphate recently declared by the group then calling itself the Islamic State. During searches of their homes a guide on how to travel to Syria to join Islamic State was found at Mr Anderson's address. Both males were charged with an offence of inviting support for a proscribed organisation contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Mr Anderson was also charged with an offence contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for possessing information of a kind likely to be of use to someone intending to carry out an act or acts of terrorism. Both were convicted following a trial and each received a sentence of 2 years' imprisonment for inviting support for the section 12 offence and Mr Anderson was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment for the s58 offence which was ordered to be served consecutively.
R v Naseer Taj
In late December 2014 Mr Taj was arrested, two days before he was to travel to Syria to join and fight with ISIS or the Islamic State (IS). A search of Mr Taj's property recovered electronic devices, including a mobile phone which contained a publication called "Inspire Four - "Winter 1431/2010". All the articles within this publication seek to encourage its readers to join in global jihad. There is advice within the document that advises its readers to dispossess non-Muslims of their wealth by fraudulent means. It also contains speeches from well-known proponents of violent Islamic extremism Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. On p.39-41 there is an article about "destroying buildings" by the "AQ Chef" which is of realistic practical assistance to someone who was considering carrying out an act of terrorism. The phone also contained Issue 12: Spring 2014/1435 which contains practical guidance on the preparation and deployment of car bombs and suitable targets in the US, the UK and in France for maximum casualties. Police also recovered numerous items of recently purchased outdoor wear for the adverse weather conditions in Syria, including Shemagh scarves, as seen worn by many fighters in the Middle East, receipts for the shop Go Outdoors, new Magnum (combat/military style) boots, new Karrimor outdoor jackets, combat trousers and a tactical utility belt. They also found a number of DVDs produced by 'Islam4uk', who were proscribed under the Terrorism Act on 14 January 2010.
Mr Taj is the user of a Twitter account in the name of Abu Bakr Al Kashmiri @abubakr1492. The background profile picture for this account is the picture of an individual referred to as 'Jihadi John', the individual responsible for beheading UK and US hostages.
The main profile image is of Ilyas KASHMIRI who was reportedly the leader of Al Qaeda in KASHMIR. Below the image is a declaration: "MY ALLEGIANCE IS TO ALLAAH, HIS MESSENGER SAAS & KHALIFATUL MUSLIMEEN ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI KEEP CALM & BEHEAD Z KAFIR" (Abu Bakr Al-Bagdadi is the self-declared leader of the IS.)
Whatsapp messages were recovered between Mr Taj and a male called Uddin where Mr Taj was seeking his advice as to the best place to go in Syria and where he could be a suicide bomber.
Mr Taj was charged with one offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and two offences contrary to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and an offence contrary to section 4 of the Identity Documents Act 2010. He was convicted after trial and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for each of the s58 offences to run concurrently, five years' and six months' imprisonment for the section 5 offence to run consecutively to the two year sentence and a further nine months to run consecutively for the identity documents offence, a total of eight years' and three months 'imprisonment with a 15 year notification period.
R v Rebecca Poole
On 19 January 2016 the police executed a search warrant at the address where Ms Poole was living. Having seized and analysed her computer, the police found that a copy of 'How to Survive in the West - a Mujahid Guide 2016' had been downloaded and saved on to the computer. This document contained chapters on a variety of subjects, such as weapons and bomb making.
It was also found that Ms Poole had been talking to a number of other people on social media, in conversations which she was:
- expressing a desire to marry a jihadi warrior;
- expressing a desire to travel to Syria to live under ISIS; and
- expressing a desire to become a suicide bomber, possibly so she could end her life.
On 9 March 2016 Ms Poole was charged with one offence of collecting information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
On 11 October 2016 Ms Poole was found not fit to plead but to have been in possession of the material. Having received reports from two doctors and heard from one of them, the court made Ms Poole subject to a Hospital Order with restrictions.
R v Mohammed Uddin
On 4 November 2014 Uddin took the Eurostar to Belgium and then took a flight to Istanbul the following day; he was accompanied by his Norweigan girlfriend. On 15 December 2014 he was detained by the Gendarmerie General Command close to the Syrian border and he was taken into custody by the Turkish authorities. On 22 December 2014 he returned to the UK and was arrested.
He was interviewed by police and stated that he had travelled to Turkey on 4 November for a holiday with his secret girlfriend and had planned to return on 11 November. Uddin claimed to have stayed at hotels in Istanbul until 8 December 2014 when he said he discovered that he had lost his passport. He said that he went to a Turkish police station and they told him to go to the British Embassy in Ankara so he took a bus to Ankara but fell asleep on the bus and missed his stop. He said he then woke in the early hours of the morning in Gazientep (near the Syrian border) and a military officer asked to see his documentation (which he did not have) and he was then detained.
Uddin's property was seized when he was arrested and the clothing found within his 65L Karrimor Rucksack consisted mainly of outdoor active wear (similar to that worn by professional security services) it was not the type of clothing usually associated with someone travelling on a holiday. Two mobile telephones and a laptop were also found in his possession. It was ascertained that he booked and paid for travel to Turkey and that he had purchased a number of items in October 2014 which would be of use in Syria including Patrol boots, thermals and other clothing and a lightweight Rugged Solar Powered Monkey Explorer. Several conversations found within the social media applications on his media devices provided evidence of Uddin's intention to enter Syria for the purpose of joining ISIS and engaging in combat.
From the available evidence it appeared that he entered Syria through Turkey on or shortly after 7 November 2014 and crossed the border back into Turkey on around 15 December 2014. Uddin therefore spent a little over five weeks in Syria. Within a relatively short period after his arrival in Syria, he expressed discontentment regarding the slowness of progress in reaching a training camp and disillusionment with the prevailing system in Syria. He also experienced pressure to return to the UK, where his wife awaited the birth of their child. His plans to return to the UK may have been slowed by the fact that his passport had been confiscated from him. Whilst Uddin chose to return to the UK, some of his messages indicate an intention to return at some future point to Syria.
Uddin pleaded guilty to one count of preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5 Terrorism Act 2006 and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment with an extended licence period of one year under the provisions of section 236A of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. He was also made subject to the notification provisions for a period of 15 years under Part 4 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008. Uddin sought leave to appeal his sentence, submitting that it was manifestly excessive, but leave was refused.
R v Steven Singh Narwain
On 09 December 2015 at Birmingham Airport Mr Narwain and another tried to check in a 4kg case for transportation in the hold of an aircraft at a cost of £40. Staff became suspicious as the case was small enough to carry on to the aircraft as hand luggage at no cost once it had gone through security clearance. The case was checked and found to contain in excess of €33,000 cash. The cash was seized and Mr Narwain and his companion were allowed to board their flight. Checks revealed that Mr Narwain had used Birmingham airport on approximately 20 occasions in six months.
On Tuesday 26 April 2016 at 15.10hrs, Mr Narwain was stopped by police on his arrival at Birmingham Airport after he had passed through immigration control. Officers sought to question Mr Narwain using powers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
During the course of the examination Mr Narwain was asked to hand over his mobile phone and PIN code. Mr Narwain removed his white iPhone 5 from his shoulder bag and placed it on the floor. He told officers "you are not having my fucking phone" and stamped on his phone three times in quick succession and then stood over it, impeding officer's attempt to pick it up from the floor. Mr Narwain was asked to provide the PIN code for the phone and initially refused and then subsequently claimed not to remember the PIN code.
Mr Narwain was asked if he had any luggage in his possession, or to be collected from the carousel, and whether he had any ticket to identify his luggage. Mr Narwain initially told officers that he did not have any luggage, but a little later in the examination told officers he had one suitcase, blue in colour and around 3 feet in length. An officer was instructed to collect the case and spent approximately 30 minutes in the arrivals hall looking for the item without success.
On the officer's return to the examination room Mr Narwain was told that there was no luggage matching the description given. Mr Narwain confirmed he did not have any luggage. On being asked why had lied he responded "You're messing me around, I'm messing you around" and laughed.
Mr Narwain was charged with an offence of wilfully obstructing, or seeking to frustrate, a search or examination under Schedule 7, contrary to paragraph 18(c) of Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000. He pleaded guilty at the first hearing at Westminster Magistrate' on 04 October 2016. In mitigation, Mr Narwain's solicitor stated Mr Narwain had been tired and frustrated, on medication for his broken hand and had been drinking on his flight from India. He admitted he was belligerent and accepted what the officers say. He was sentenced to 7 days' imprisonment and a one year Supervision Order.
R v Thomas Mair
On Thursday 16 June 2016, Jo Cox MP was tragically murdered by Thomas Mair in Market Street in Birstall, near Batley in Kirklees. It was a cowardly attack by a man armed with a firearm and a knife. Jo Cox was shot three times and suffered multiple stab wounds. During the course of the murder Mair was heard by a number of witnesses to say repeatedly "Britain First", "Keep Britain independent", "Britain will always come first".
In the course of the sustained attack on the MP, a 77-year-old local man, Bernard Carter Kenny, risked his own life in an effort to save hers and because of his brave intervention, he was also stabbed by Mair.
Evidence gathered clearly showed that Mair was motivated by hatred. When searched, his home contained a wealth of material showing a very deep rooted interest in extreme far-right politics. He had a selection of books about the Nazis, German military history and white supremacy together with the Third Reich eagle with a swastika. He had kept newspaper clippings of the Norwegian far right terrorist Anders Breivik who used a rifle to kill sixty nine social-democrat youth workers and detonated a bomb killing eight people.
Mair was a member of his local public library in Birstall. He used the library computers to research such matters as the BNP, white supremacists, Nazis and public shootings. Just a few days before the murder, he looked at webpages on the Ku Klux Klan, serial killers and matricide. He also read up on the death of Ian Gow, the last MP to have been murdered before Jo Cox.'
There was no evidence to suggest that Mair made any efforts to make contact with likeminded individuals; it appears he was self-radicalised. In 1988, he subscribed to a right-wing magazine called SA Patriot, which was initially published in South Africa by the Springbok Club, but moved to the UK and was renamed SA Patriot in Exile. In 1998 he wrote a letter to the magazine and was critical of the British media's reporting of South Africa, he ended the letter by stating; "Despite everything, I still have faith that the white race will prevail, both in Britain and in South Africa but I fear that it's going to be a very long and very bloody struggle."
In 1997, he wrote another letter to the magazine stating "I was glad you strongly condemned collaborators in the white South African population. In my opinion the greatest enemy of the old apartheid system was not the ANC and the black masses but white liberals and traitors."
During the first court appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court, Mair shouted "death to traitors, Britain comes first". Mair condemned those he perceived to be collaborators, traitors to his race.
In the immediate aftermath of the murder, there were suggestions that Mair had a history of mental illness. However, no psychiatric reports were relied upon in his defence. He was therefore held responsible for his actions and was prosecuted as a 'lone-actor' terrorist.
Some questioned why Mair was charged with murder and not with terrorism offences, whilst others asked why it was terrorism. The murder came within the definition of 'terrorism' as set out in section 1 Terrorism Act 2000. The definition covers, amongst other things, threats or action involving serious violence against the person where this is for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, ideological or racial cause. Mair was charged and convicted of the same charges as Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the killers of Lee Rigby.
The Honourable Mr Justice Wilkie concluded in sentencing Mair to life in prison; "there is no doubt that this murder was done for the purpose of advancing a political, racial and ideological cause namely that of violent white supremacism and exclusive nationalism most associated with Nazism and its modern forms".
R v Abdalla and Rasmus
Anas Abdalla and Gabriel Rasmus were arrested on 3 April 2015 having hidden themselves in the back of a lorry at the Port of Dover. It was an attempt to leave the UK covertly for the purposes of joining Daesh and engaging in acts of terrorism with the proscribed organisation. Both men had, for some time, been the subject of an operation by West-Midlands Counter Terrorism police in which an undercover officer had gathered evidence of their intention to become fighters with Daesh and the conduct they engaged in for the purpose of giving effect to that intention. Mr Abdalla and Mr Rasmus were jointly charged with a single offence contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. On 20 November 2015 Mr Rasmus pleaded guilty to that offence. On 13 October 2016, following a retrial, Mr Abdalla was convicted.
On 7 November 2016 Mr Rasmus was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months' imprisonment and Mr Abdalla was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment.
R v Golamaully and Golamaully
Mr and Mrs Golamaully pleaded guilty to an offence of terrorist funding contrary to section 15(3) Terrorism Act 2000. The recipient of monies was their nephew, Zaffir Golamaully, who had travelled from Mauritius to Syria to fight for ISIS.
Mr Golamaully was in contact with Zaffir through Whatsapp messaging. Zaffir indicated that he had been at a training camp and was fighting in Syria and asked that Mr Golamaully send money to him via a third party in Turkey. Mr Golamaully then arranged for his wife to send £219, which she did via Western Union.
Police arrested Mrs Golamaully and seized computers at her address. Interrogation of the computers revealed messages between Zaffir and Mr Golamaully of what he was doing in Syria. It transpired from the messaging that Mr and Mrs Gollamaully had lied to Zaffir's parents as to what he was doing in Turkey. In addition, a considerable amount of mind-set evidence in support of ISIS that included all of the Dabiq publications was found on the computers.
Both pleaded guilty. Mr Golamaully was sentenced to 2 years 3 months' imprisonment. Mrs Golamaully was sentenced to 1 year 10 months' imprisonment. Both are subject to a terrorism notification order for 10 years.
R v Hoque and Miah
Both were charged with terrorist funding contrary to section 17(3) of the Terrorism Act 2000.
This related to the provision of funds and equipment via aid convoys to Mr Hoque's nephew, who was in Syria fighting for the proscribed organisation known as Jabhat al Nursra.
Mr Hoque would transport the money and equipment on an aid convoy from the UK and give it to Mr Miah who was based on the Turkish/Syrian border on the pretence of working for an aid charity. Mr Miah would then supply the equipment and money to Mr Hoque's nephew and his group.
Mr Hoque and Mr Miah were convicted after trial.Mr Hoque was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment and Mr Miah was sentenced to 2.5 years' imprisonment. The terrorism notification period for both is 10 years.
R v Hana Gul Khan
On 27 March 2015 Hana Gul Khan was sentenced at the Central Criminal Court to 21 months' imprisonment suspended for two years, given a two year supervision order and a 10 year Terrorism Act notification period, having been convicted of a funding offence contrary to s17 Terrorism Act 2000. Ms Gul Khan completed her initial notification on the day of sentencing and provided her name as Hana Gul Khan. On 24 March 2016 Ms Gul Khan attended a police station for her annual notification and admitted she had completed a name change around January 2016 and was using the name Hana Khalil and had obtained a new driving licence in breach of her notification requirements.
She pleaded guilty and was sentenced on 25 November 2016 to a total of 180 hours Community Order (100 hours for breach of the notification order and 80 hours for the original suspended offence).
R v Abdul Hamid
Mr Hamid was arrested on 18 February 2016 on suspicion of dissemination of a terrorist publication, contrary to section 2 of the 2006 Act. His arrest was the result of an investigation by Metropolitan Police following Daesh propaganda material being posted by him onto his Facebook page, specifically the video publication 'No Respite'. The video is just over 4 minutes duration and the contents celebrate the expansion of the 'Islamic State', glorify the activities of IS/Daesh fighters and goad the coalition forces into further military conflict. He posted the video on his Facebook page on 13 December 2015 and at the time of his arrest the video had been 'viewed' 465 times, 'liked' 20 times and 'shared' at least 34 times. He re-posted the same video on 8 January 2016 and on this occasion he added the comment 'This video is strictly for education purposes only'.
In interview Hamid accepted he had posted the video. He claimed to have uploaded the video from either the BBC or Mail websites. Investigations have revealed that both media outlets had redacted the footage and showed less than 60 seconds of the video. He apologised for any offence he caused by the postings but denied his intention was to encourage, directly or indirectly, or otherwise induce, the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years' Imprisonment with 10 years' Terrorism Notification Order
R v Aras Mohammed Hamid, Shivan Hayder Azeez Zangana and Ahmed Ismail
On 13 May 2016, family members of Shivan Zangana contacted police asking for urgent help stating that he had left the family home in Sheffield with the intention of travelling to Syria to join ISIS. Enquiries revealed that he had travelled by train on that date to Birmingham where he was met by Aras Hamid.
In the weeks beforehand Aras Hamid had been in regular contact by phone with a person believed to be in either Turkey or Iraq and was seeking his assistance in making arrangements for himself, Shivan Zangana and Ahmed Ismail to travel to Syria to join ISIS as fighters. Both Shivan Zangana and Ahmed Ismail had been in contact with Aras Hamid via phone and/or social media and had expressed their desire to take part in violent jihad in Syria.
Having arrived in Birmingham and over the course of the weekend that followed all three males continued making arrangements for travel. Aras Hamid and Shivan Zangana purchased a flight for Shivan Zangana from the UK to Iraq as the first leg of his journey. Both had further telephone contact with the facilitator in Turkey/Iraq. Ahmed Ismail continued to make arrangements direct with Aras Hamid.
Ahmed Ismail then changed his mind about travelling stating that his brother was in Syria fighting for ISIS but had now been taken prisoner by ISIS and was accused of being a spy. His fate was unknown. Although he had changed his mind about travelling it was clear that he was well aware of Aras Hamid's intention to travel for terrorist purposes.
On 19 May 2016 Shivan Zangana was arrested at a mosque in Birmingham. Media devices were recovered from him and Aras Hamid, who was also present. Subsequent analysis of those media devices revealed large quantities of extremist Islamic material as well as the conversations between the parties and with the facilitator discussing the planned travel.
On 22 May 2016 Aras Hamid was arrested from the back of an articulated lorry in a layby at Dover. He was trying to leave the country surreptitiously. Ahmed Ismail was arrested the next day from his home address.
In interview all three males denied any intention of engaging in terrorist acts. Aras Hamid was charged with the following offences:
- Assisting another in the preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2006 Possession of an identity document with improper intention, contrary to section 4(1) and (2) of the Identity Documents Act 2010
- Preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006
- Azeez Zangana was charged with an offence of preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and Ahmed Ismail was charged with an offence of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism, contrary to section 38B(1)(b) and (2) of the Terrorism Act 2000
After a trial all three were convicted. Aras Hamid was sentenced to a total of 8 years' imprisonment with Terrorism Notification Requirements for 15 years. Azeez Zangana was sentenced to a total of 4 years' imprisonment with Terrorism Notification Requirements for 10 years. Ahmed Ismail was sentenced to a total of 18 months' imprisonment with Terrorism Notification Requirements for 10 years.