THE FINAL TWO men of a group of five charged with supporting terrorism have now been convicted. The other three members of the group had been convicted last August, but the final two had to go through a retrial after the jury at the first hearing failed to reach a verdict on their cases.
All five were charged with organising and delivering terrorist speeches on various occasions in Luton in 2015. Convicted on 13th January after the retrial were:
•Mohammed Sufiyan Choudry, 23, of Maidenhead (guilty on one charge of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation);
•Ziaur Rahman, 39, of Luton (guilty on three charges involving arranging, managing or assisting in arranging or managing a meeting to support a proscribed organisation).
The original trial saw Yousaf Bashir, 36, Rajib Khan, 38, and Mohammed Istiak Alamgir, 37, all of Luton, convicted on similar charges.
The men were charged after intelligence suggested that the men were organising support for Daesh. Bedfordshire police and the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command then investigated their activities. The charges arose from evidence that the five men had attended meetings of 50-70 people, including children, at a Luton church and in a marquee in Rahman’s garden. Police said that Khan, Bashir, Choudry and Alamgir had delivered incendiary speeches in which they praised Daesh and encouraged others to support it – even by going to Syria to join in the fighting. Alamgir collected money at these meetings to help pay the legal fees of convicted terrorist Omar Bakri Muhammed, thought to be the head of Al-Muhajiroun (ALM), which is a proscribed terrorist organisation. The five were arrested in December 2015.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: “The men used meetings about Ramadan – a time for self-reflection and change for the better – to instead deliver subversive speeches that encouraged groups, including very young children, to engage in war alongside Daesh. Speeches like theirs inspire the terrorists of tomorrow and I am immensely pleased with the excellent work of my officers and Bedfordshire Police. Crucially, both are working with Luton Social Services to safeguard the vulnerable children we’ve identified were taken to the radical meetings.”
Detective Superintendent Glen Channer, from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit, added: “Luton is a fantastic town with great diversity and strong communities; however we are aware there are elements with extreme views who prey on the vulnerable. This case is another example to show that we simply will not tolerate those who spread fear and hate in our communities and will continue to target, arrest and disrupt anyone with extreme views.”
Now that the hearings are complete, the five will be sentenced on a date yet to be set.
•The police urge anyone with concerns about possible terrorist activity to ring the Anti-Terrorist Hotline: 0800-789 321. Advice about how to deal with those affected by terrorist propaganda can be found on www.preventtragedies.co.uk.