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Cardiff teenager jailed over plan to join Isis

23Bangla Mirror desk

Tuesday 7 July 2015, Syed Choudhury, 19, sentenced to three years and four months for plotting to travel to Syria to fight for the extremists after being radicalised by older men
A teenager from Cardiff has been jailed for plotting to travel to Syria to fight with Isis after being radicalised by older men in the Welsh capital.
Syed Choudhury, 19, who moved to Cardiff from West Yorkshire to study, worked in a fast-food restaurant to save money to travel to Syria but was arrested before he could leave.
Jailing Choudhury for three years and four months for preparing acts of terrorism, the judge Peter Rook QC accepted that the defendant had been immature and “impressionable to indoctrination”. The judge also acknowledged that Choudhury now believed he was lucky to have been stopped from leaving the UK.
“You have shown some awareness of how misguided your earlier extremist position was,” the judge told him. “You now say: ‘I’m lucky I got stopped.’”
But Rook said he continued to regard Choudhury as a danger to the public. “I cannot disregard what you said earlier and how you are an impressionable, immature person susceptible to radicalisation,” he said.
The issue of young men from Cardiff being radicalised hit the headlines last summer when 20-year-old friends Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan appeared in an Isis recruitment video.
Muthana’s younger brother, Aseel, 17, also left the Welsh capital for Syria, after telling his parents he was going to a friend’s house to revise for a maths exam.
A man resembling Nasser Mathuna later appeared in an Isis video showing the murders of US hostage Peter Kassig and a group of Syrian servicemen.
There has been much soul-searching in Cardiff about how and why the young men became radicalised, though the police insist there is nothing about the city that makes its young citizens particularly susceptible to extremist views.
After the sentencing, Asst Ch Con 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 multicultural 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.”
Choudhury, who like the Muthana brothers was born in Britain, moved from his home in Bradford to Cardiff to study.
The Old Bailey in London heard tha he fell under the influence of older men he regarded as more learned. In 2012 his extreme religious views surfaced when he began courses in business administration, IT and car mechanics at Cardiff and Vale further education college. While there he said 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.”
After college he saved around £3,000 from working in a fast-food restaurant. He was spotted at a demonstration about Gaza brandishing a banner claiming Isis would bring peace to the Middle East. He began researching how to reach Syria and looked at material relating to the extremist executioner known as Jihadi John.
When he was arrested in December he told police 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, and said 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 teenager showed a “lack of sophistication, some naivety and level of immaturity”.
He added: “He was openly using Facebook and Twitter accounts that could link to him to material that was highly incriminating. There appears to be no attempt at all to disguise his involvement or insulate himself from detection.”