Radical preacher Anjem Choudary jailed for five years, six months

Court sentences radical UK cleric Anjem Choudary to five years and six months in prison for urging his supporters to fight for the Islamic State militant group 

Radical preacher Anhem Choudary has been jailed for five years and six months.
Radical preacher Anhem Choudary has been jailed for five years and six months.

Radical UK cleric Anjem Choudary has been jailed for five years and six months for his activities in support for the Islamic State militant group.

Choudary, 49, was sentenced at the Old Bailey in London after he was convicted in July for urging Muslims to support IS in a series of YouTube videos. He was convicted along with his confidant Mohammed Rahman, 33, who was also sentenced to five years and six months in prison.

Choudary and Rahman had told their supporters to obey IS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and to travel to Syria to support “the caliphate”.

He was a key figure in al-Muhajirou, which was banned as a terror group and relaunched itself as al-Ghurabaa, only to be banned again. Successor groups, such as Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades, were also banned.

Choudary’s barrister Mark Summers told the court that his client regretted the law. He urged the judge, Mr Justice Holroyde, not to sentence his client on the basis of his 20 years of notoriety, nor on allegations that he had indoctrinated “a generation of people to commit direct act of terrorism”.

“Mr Choudary has done his best to stay within the law, acting on the boundaries of it maybe, but determined to stay within the law,” Summers said.

The lawyer painted a picture of a remorseful man facing solitary confinement, and said Choudary would not offend again in the future.

“He has had time to reflect, and on reflection would have done things differently had he known the boundaries of the law. He is determined not to cross those boundaries in the future.”

He argued that Choudary’s invitations of support for Isis was an intellectual call, not one for violence, and there was no evidence that anyone acted on them.

His conviction followed a Scotland Yard investigation, in which detectives examined 20 years’ worth of material held on 333 electronic devices containing 12.1 terabytes of data.

Between August and September 2014, Choudary and Rahman posted speeches on YouTube encouraging support for IS.

An audio clip lasting one hour and six minutes that was uploaded to Choudary’s YouTube channel on 9 September 2014, was played to jurors.

Titled ‘How Muslims Assess the Legitimacy of the Caliphate’, the speech was played over the image of a map of northern Africa, the Middle East, north-west Asia and southern Europe. 

In the video, Choudary set out his views about the requirements of a legitimate Islamic caliphate, then proceeded to explain why he sees IS as meeting the criteria.

“The lesson from this narration is that obedience to the caliph is an obligation, if they rule by the sharia. And to obey them obviously means they must be established,” Choudary said.

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