‘Chilling’ Bradford teen jailed over IS terror plot

Syed Choudhury been jailed for three years and four months for plotting to go to Syria to fight for Islamic State.
Syed Choudhury been jailed for three years and four months for plotting to go to Syria to fight for Islamic State.
3
Have your say

A BRADFORD teenager who was indoctrinated with “chilling” extremist views has been jailed for three years and four months for plotting to go to Syria to fight for Islamic State.

British-born Syed Choudhury, 19, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey last month to preparing acts of terrorism before his arrest in December 2014.

The court heard he researched online how to get to Syria and the only reason he had not left was he could not find anyone he trusted to go with.

The court heard the Yorkshire teen had been radicalised by people he regarded as elders after he left home to study in Cardiff.

His extreme views were revealed when he ranted to officers about Sharia law saying he wanted to be the one to bring it to the UK while in custody.

Jailing him today, judge Peter Rook QC, said: “The bluntness of what you said on that occasion is chilling. It reveals your dangerousness. However I do accept you are immature. You are impressionable to indoctrination.

“You now say ‘I’m lucky I came to prison, I’m lucky I got stopped’.

“You have shown some awareness of how misguided your earlier extremist position was.”

Judge Rook said Choudhury would spend half his sentence in a young offenders institution, and in line with new legislation, he would have an extra year on licence.

He told the teenager that he continued to regard him as a risk to the public, adding: “I cannot disregard what you said earlier and how you are an impressionable, immature person susceptible to radicalisation.”

Choudhury’s extreme religious views first surfaced in 2012 when he began a course in business administration, IT, key skills and car mechanics at Cardiff and Vale College.

He was heard to say gay people should be killed and they would go to hell.

As part of an IT project, he made a poster reading Islam Will Dominate The World Freedom Can Go To Hell.

In May 2013, Choudhury left college with qualifications at a level below GCSE and went to Bangladesh for a few months before returning to Cardiff where he stayed with an aunt and uncle.

He had saved around £3,000 from working in a fast food restaurant and other unskilled jobs so he did have the means to carry out his wish of going to Syria, prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said.

In 2014, he came to the attention of anti-radicalisation group Prevent after he attended a demonstration about the Gaza conflict brandishing a banner stating Islamic State will bring peace to the Middle East.

But he became angry and aggressive and rebuffed their approaches, the court heard.

He went on to search the Internet for topics including 10 reasons to join Isis, Turkey Travel, Jihadist Highway and How To Travel To Syria These Days.

And he networked on Twitter for advice on how to join Isis in Syria.

He continued to download extremist material including the image of Jihadi John before he beheaded a Western hostage.

Choudhury had moved to a bedsit in Allerton Street in Cardiff by the time he was arrested on December 4.

Ms Whitehouse outlined a number of extremist comments he made to police.

He told officers the only reason he had not gone to Syria yet was because he wanted to find someone he trusted to go with.

Choudhury also spoke of his support for Isis, that he did not care about the UK and its laws and he wanted to be the one to bring Sharia law to the UK.

In mitigation, his lawyer Abdul Iqbal QC said the case showed a “lack of sophistication, some naivety and level of immaturity”.

“He was openly using Facebook and Twitter accounts that could link to him to post material that was highly incriminating.

“There appears to be no attempt at all to disguise his involvement or insulate himself from detection.”

The barrister said Choudhury now felt embarrassed by some of the things he said in police interview.

And he had been susceptible to “older men who he regarded as more learned that him” who plied him with extremist ideas.

The court heard Choudhury had an unhappy start in life. His mother was a British citizen and his father was Bangladeshi and had never lived in the UK.

When his mother abandoned him days after his birth, he was brought up by relatives in Bradford.

Afterwards, Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Holland, of South Wales Police, said: “We welcome today’s sentence, which sends a clear message that those who show support for a terrorist organisation, and plan to further this through becoming involved in terrorist acts, will be brought to justice.

“Choudhury throughout interview openly expressed his support for the Islamic State and even went as far that he would travel to Syria to fight for the cause and agreed with martyrdom.

“Cardiff is a multi-cultural city and local policing teams, together with partner agencies, work hard to ensure that the people who live there can do so in a safe and peaceful environment.

“It is therefore vital that those who wish to support violent and murderous actions against others are identified both through rigorous policing and the support of communities who can report suspicious actions and behaviour.”