Syrian Asylum Seeker Jailed for Terrorism After Posting Extremist Content on Facebook

asylum seeker
Manchester Police

A Syrian asylum seeker who shared videos of Iraqi soldiers being executed and jihadists preparing for a suicide mission on Facebook was jailed for two years on Friday.

The pro-Islamist media and messages were found on former Syrian air force officer Saer Shaker’s Facebook account and he was arrested in February, reports The Telegraph.

The media including a video of blindfolded Iraqi officers being executed by an Islamic State jihadist, and a video of a group of Islamists preparing for a suicide mission accompanied by a caption reading: “The striking hour of carrying out a martyrdom operation – it is the striking hour of death, O gentlemen, O my soul.”

Police seized a number of personal electronic devices at Shaker’s home which contained a five-minute audio clip of a speech by Abu Mohammad Al-Adnani (the public face of Islamic State), and an audio clip of a speech from an Islamist scholar who advocated for violent jihad and a “holy war”.

The 35-year-old father of three applied for asylum in the UK in February 2014 after a ship he was working on ran into difficulties off of the British mainland coast. His application was based on his testimony that his civil servant father and brother-in-law in Syria had been kidnapped and murdered by a group known as Ahrar al-Sham and Shaker feared his life would be in danger if he returned.

In May 2014, he was granted “discretionary leave” to remain in the UK until 2019, and his wife and children joined him in December.

The Syrian initially claimed the media were just “Facebook talk” and that he posted the extremist content because he was “bored” of being in the UK, but later pleaded guilty to encouraging terrorism and disseminating terrorist material.

Prosecutors told Manchester Crown Court that Shaker was “someone with an extremist mindset – clearly supportive of Islamic State”.

This is the second incident in the past week of asylum seekers from the Middle East being jailed on terror charges. On Friday, Afghani failed Syrian asylum seeker Hussein Yusef was jailed for six and a half years for sharing the personal addresses and emails of 56 members of the U.S. military online. He had arrived as a ‘child refugee’ aged 14 and was fostered by carers in Oxford.

Also on Friday, 18-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker Ahmed Hassan was charged with attempted murder and using the chemical compound TATP to cause an explosion likely to endanger life in connection with the Parsons Green terror attack where a bucket bomb partially detonated on a London underground train injuring nearly 30 people. However, both charges are criminal in nature and are not terror-related.

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