British Jihadi Who Faked Own Death Pleads Guilty to Terror Offences

Internation Centre for the Study of Radicalisation

A British Jihadist who spent six months in Syria and faked his death before returning to Britain has pleaded guilty to four terrorism offences.

The BBC reports that Imran Khawaja, 27, of Houslow, west London, admitted preparing acts of terrorism, attending a terrorist training camp, receiving training and illegally possessing firearms at the Old Bailey court today.

Police say that Khawaja was part of a group involved in major propaganda campaigns to recruit new fighters, and were also involved in acts of extreme violence. One image shows Khawaja holding a severed head, with his own face obscured to try to avoid detection.

Police also say that he later used a social media account to announce his own death in a bid to sneak back into Britain undetected.

His cousin Tahir Bhatti, 44, also pleaded guilty today to helping Khawaja return from Syria by meeting him in Bulgaria and then driving him back to Britain. The pair were intercepted at Dover, however, and arrested.

Bhatti pleaded guilty to assisting an offender. He has previously pleaded not guilty to further charges of preparing an act of terrorism and having information on terrorism.

A third man, Asim Ali, pleaded guilty to entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism, admitting that he made £300 available to Khawaja while knowing it could be used to for terror. He pleaded not guilty to another charge of preparing a terror act.

The men will be sentenced next month, with Khawaja facing life imprisonment. The Metropolitan Police’s head of counter-terrorism, Commander Richard Walton, said: “Imran Khawaja was not a vulnerable teenager that has travelled out to Syria and been coerced to travel to Syria.

“This is a man who has chosen the path of terrorism. We don’t know why he came back. We don’t know what he was planning.

“But this is a dangerous man, a trained terrorist.”