ISIS member who sent Bitcoin from UK to free jihadists from Syrian prisons is jailed for 12 years 

Posted on

A sales consultant, believed to be the first Brit convicted of being an Islamic State member, has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of using Bitcoin to help fund the terror group.

Hashim Chaudhary, 28, raised thousands of pounds before converting the money to Bitcoin to help free Daesh fighters from detention camps.

A court heard he was an ‘active and prominent’ member of IS and was found with publications featuring Osama Bin Laden when police raided his home.

Hashim Chaudhary, 28, raised thousands of pounds before converting the money to Bitcoin to help free Daesh fighters from detention camps

Hashim Chaudhary, 28, raised thousands of pounds before converting the money to Bitcoin to help free Daesh fighters from detention camps

He also used Bitcoin to receive and transfer thousands of pounds, paying smugglers to liberate IS supporters from detention camps in Syria

He also used Bitcoin to receive and transfer thousands of pounds, paying smugglers to liberate IS supporters from detention camps in Syria

During the dawn raid in November 2019, police also found IS propaganda videos showing that he had produced a ‘call to arms’ video distributed over the web.

Jurors were told Chaudhary, of Oadby, Leicestershire, mainly operated online and was able to ‘promote violent jihad from the UK’.

He also used Bitcoin to receive and transfer thousands of pounds, paying smugglers to liberate IS supporters from detention camps in Syria.

Chaudhary was found guilty of seven offences under the Terrorism Act and is believed to be one of the first Brits to be convicted of being a member of IS.

A court heard he was a member of the terror group since 2016.

Following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court he was convicted of belonging to a proscribed organisation, dissemination of terrorist publications and entering into a terrorist funding arrangement.

Today Chaudhary was jailed for 12 years at the same court with an extended five year licence period.

Sentencing Judge Paul Farrer QC, said: ‘I have to sentence you with a series of terrorist offences.

‘Count 1 involves the membership of Islamic State between January 2016 and October 2020.

‘The evidence shows that in late 2016 you travelled to the Middle East for approximately two-and-a-half months.

‘In a social media conversation, you had in 2019, you said you had unsuccessfully attempted to get to Syria.

‘I am satisfied you travelled to lend physical support to the IS cause – I conclude in late 2016, you became a member of that organisation. You swore your allegiance in 2019.

‘You were a highly active member of the organisation. You were involved in organising the funding for the extraction of IS supporters from detention camps in Syria and their subsequent smuggling back to IS controlled areas.

‘The extent of your activities is revealed by your Bitcoin trading. In 2018, you purchased just under £17,000 of Bitcoin of which £16,000 was transferred to unidentified sources.

‘In 2019, you brought to transfer in excess of £35,000 worth of Bitcoin.

‘You still claim that your action was motivated by that of a humanitarian consideration – I reject that.

Jurors were told Chaudhary, of Oadby, Leicestershire, mainly operated online and was able to 'promote violent jihad from the UK'

Jurors were told Chaudhary, of Oadby, Leicestershire, mainly operated online and was able to ‘promote violent jihad from the UK’

‘I have no doubt your real motivation was to assist Islamic State in freeing supporters from detention camps.

‘In September 2019, you transferred money from America and Sweden to an American IS member.

‘In late 2019, you transferred money in order to secure the release of a Dutch IS member in Norther Syria.

‘Your objective was to get her out of the camp before she and her children could be taken back to Holland.

‘You were also involved in the creation of propaganda material undoubtedly intended to increase support for the organisation.

‘In April of 2018, you translated a speech by Osama Bin Laden called ‘On the Margin of Events’ which allowed you to call to arms to those who oppose the Islamic State.

‘Your conduct was likely to make a contribution towards terrorism.

‘You are a highly intelligent individual, who, in the past has made a positive contribution to society – volunteering and charity work.

‘But unfortunately, your actions demonstrate that you are a committed extremist. There is no reason to believe that you surrender these views lightly.

‘I conclude that you are, and likely to remain a dangerous offender for the foreseeable future.

‘It is impossible to assess how long you will remain a danger, but in my judgement the five-year maximum extension to your licence is necessary to protect the public.’

Prosecutor Simon Davis had earlier told the court Chaudhary formed a close alignment to IS and had used the money to fund further terrorism.

He said: ‘The defendant had a close alignment with IS and was found to have a collection of publications, some featuring Osama Bin Laden – he was very active and prominent.

‘He went to great lengths to source and edit publications and encourage others to post the publication on Archive.org to ensure its longevity on the internet.

‘He had close connections to IS media.

‘He received an approach from a ‘sister’ in Idlib, Syria, and a conversation took place about how to send money to Idlib.

‘IS fighters were heavily reliant on multiple donations.

‘In a conversation about funding Bitcoin, Chaudhary said ‘I’ve been doing this for years and no one has been caught’.

‘Money was likely to fund further terrorism – enabling ISIS to continue their activities from Idlib.

‘It would have the obvious effect of raising morale of the members of the organisation, perpetuating the life of the organisation and enabling further terrorist activity to take place.

‘Some £40,000 has been used for what the defendant claimed was ‘humanitarian purposes’.

‘There was a potential for radicalisation online, this was through Twitter, a Telegram account and Archive.org.

‘Twitter soon removed this from their platform but Archive.org still had publications up online in January 2021 before taking them down.

‘The Telegram account was also still up on June 2020 but was taken down in June 2021.’

Nawaz Hussain, defending, said: ‘His membership of IS was clearly active but this wasn’t someone of prominence.

‘He raised money for charities for Oxfam to do some good, his motivations were to lend a hand to people who are suffering.

‘He has an element of a saviour complex – being too intelligent for his own good. He is far removed from physical violence.

‘His driving force was to release a woman from a camp, this was a humanitarian venture, which crossed into criminality.’

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *