Two men have been sentenced to over five years imprisonment for encouraging support for ISIS.
Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Mizanur Rahman were found guilty on 28 July following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Choudary, aged 49, of Hampton Road, Ilford and Rahman, aged 33, of North Circular Road, Palmers Green were both found guilty of the following offence:
– Between 29 June 2014 and 6 March 2015 invited support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, namely ISIL, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State, contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Choudary and Rahman were both sentenced to five years and six months imprisonment.
The pair were also sentenced to a 15 year notification order.
The evidence presented during the course of their trial established that Choudary broadcast speeches online providing his rationale to recognise Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of the Islamic State. Rahman uploaded a speech that claimed learned scholars would offer allegiance to Baghdadi and that they would support him so long as he complied with the Sharia Law, and another speech where he discussed Hijrah in which he encouraged people to take up jihad and migrate.
Finally the court heard that Choudary and Rahman pledged their allegiance to ISIS using Mohammed Fachry, a convicted terrorist, to publish the oath that had been signed off by Choudary, on an Indonesian website.
Choudary and Rahman were arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command on 25 September 2014. During the course of the investigation, 20 years worth of material was considered, with over 333 electronic devices containing 12.1 terabytes of storage data assessed and evidence identified to support the prosecution case at court. Well established international contacts ensured that officers were able to obtain key evidence from the Indonesian authorities to prove that Choudary and Rahman were key in the publication of their oath of allegiance.
The trial took place at the Old Bailey and lasted four weeks, representatives of the media and the public were able to attend every day but due to another ongoing trial reporting restrictions were put in place – these restrictions were lifted on Tuesday, 16 August.
Commander Dean Haydon, Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “These men have stayed just within the law for many years and there has been frustration for both law enforcement agencies and communities as they spread hate. We have watched Choudary developing a media career as spokesman for the extremists, saying the most distasteful of comments, but without crossing the criminal threshold.
“Their recent speeches and the oath of allegiance were a turning point for the police – at last we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they were actively encouraging support of ISIS.
“This has been a significant prosecution in our fight against terrorism and we will now be working with communities to ensure that they are not replaced by others spreading hate.
“Communities defeat terrorism, which is why we must maintain the strong relationship between the public and police. We depend on information from the public, who are our eyes and ears, in our efforts to keep us all safe.
“We advise the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 – in an emergency always call 999.”