Two British-born jihadis have been jailed for 12 years and eight months each after spending eight months fighting with the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front terror group in Syria.
Mohammed Nahin Ahmed and Yusuf Zubair Sarwar were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court, with judge Michael Topolski describing them as fundamentalists bent on violence. “You were intending to be martyred on the battlefield,” he said, adding that the men were “willingly, enthusiastically and with a great deal of purpose, persistence and determination embarked on a course intended to commit acts of terrorism.”
The BBC says that the men, who have been friends since childhood, tried to disguise their intention to travel to Syria by faking documents to convince their families they were going on holiday to Turkey. Their true intentions only came to light after they left, when Sarwar’s family found a handwritten letter from him stating his intention to “do jihad”.
Although the men initially intended not to come back to Britain, they returned to the UK in January this year following pressure from their families. They were, however, intercepted at the airport by counter-terror police.
Brian Altman, speaking for the prosecution, said: “Without the mother’s actions, the police would not have been in a position to be waiting for the men on their return.”
Officers found thousands of war-related images on the men’s camera, and a search of their homes found propaganda and images of the Islamic State flag. Email conversations with extremists were also found on their computers.
Traces of military grade explosives were also found on the men’s clothing.
Judge Topolski said: “It’s with no enthusiasm the court sentences young men to significant terms of imprisonment.
“A grave crime has been committed. The sentence in each is an extended sentence of 17 years and eight months.”