Counter Terrorism Police are reminding the public to remain vigilant and always report anything suspicious, after two men were sentenced for a combined total of nine years, for publishing terrorism-related material on an extremist website.
Working together, the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (CTC), Counter Terrorism Police North-East (CTPNE) and North-West (CTPNW) disrupted an Islamist propaganda website for Daesh supporters by bringing to justice its two main administrators and contributors: 38-year-old Mohammed Abdul Ahad, from north London, and 31-year-old Muhammad Abdur Raheem Kamali, from Rochdale, Manchester.
Ahad and Kamali recorded and transcribed extremist speeches they then typed and edited them to be uploaded to the website. A significant number of these speeches glorified terrorist organisations, such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh, and encouraged both the support and act of terrorism.
The pair came to police attention in 2016, when CTPNE investigated a 20-year-old woman who shared terrorism-related documents on the website and on a linked Facebook page. She was convicted in 2017 for dissemination of a terrorist publication.
During this investigation, it was discovered Ahad and Kamali were administrators who had edited and published a number of these and other documents on the website.
The Met’s CTC and CTPNW led investigations into the two men; both were simultaneously arrested on 1 March 2017 on suspicion of terrorism offences in a coordinated operation.
They were interviewed and bailed pending further enquiries. A search of their home addresses recovered a number of digital media devices which identified that Ahad and Kamali had been the website administrators.
On 21 June 2018, Ahad was further arrested for possession of an article from a terrorism propaganda magazine which gave instructions on how to assemble an AK47 automatic rifle. Again he gave a no-comment interview and was released on bail.
On 10 July 2018, Ahad was charged with four counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication, contrary to Section 2 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 and one count of possession of a document or record likely to be of use to a terrorist, contrary to Section 58 of the TACT 2000.
On 9 August 2018, Kamali was charged with seven counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication, contrary to Section 2 of the TACT 2006.
Following a trial, Ahad was convicted on 10 December 2019 on all the counts of terrorism for which he was charged. Kamali was convicted on the same day of four counts of dissemination of terrorist publications. The jury did not reach a verdict in relation to the remaining three counts.
Ahad was today (Wednesday, 12 February) sentenced at the Old Bailey to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for the charges of dissemination of a terrorist publication and three years’ imprisonment for possession of a document or record likely to be of use to a terrorist, to run concurrently - making a total of four-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment. Once he is released, he must serve a further year on licence and will be subject to a 10-year Part 4 Notification Requirements Order, meaning he must notify the police of particular changes in his circumstances.
Kamali was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment in total for the four counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication of which he was found guilty. He must then serve a further 12 months on licence. He is also subject to a 10-year Part 4 Notification Requirements Order.
The judge ordered that the remaining three counts on which the jury did not return a verdict should remain on file.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “I am very pleased with today’s sentences. Two publishers of harmful extremist material have been jailed for a considerable time.
“The Met works with other police forces and security services to provide a counter terrorism network, both at home and abroad, whose strength and effect is continually felt by those who conspire to commit acts of violence and terror.
“Today’s result was a direct consequence of that network. We quickly identified the two offenders in different parts of the UK as online publishers of toxic ideologies which promoted terrorism and encouraged its readership to join Daesh in Syria.
“We take the dissemination of this type of material incredibly seriously and we will prosecute anyone involved in such illegal activity.
“Police rely on information from the public and I would remind everyone to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to police, whether that be online or in the real world.”
Detective Superintendent Will Chatterton, head of investigations at Counter Terrorism Police North West, said: “Today’s result is a culmination of hard work and dedication by different Counter Terrorism Policing teams from across the National Counter Terrorism Network. I hope this reassures the public that we are unified in our approach to tackling this form of hatred and remain absolutely committed to putting a stop to the incitement of violence and terror in all of its abhorrent forms.
“I also hope this sentence sends a clear message to those thinking about engaging in online support for terrorist organisations. Across the Counter Terrorism Network we will continue to work to identify and prosecute those individuals who are actively engaged in the online support of terrorist organisations. I would also like to take this opportunity to remind members of the public that they are often one of our biggest advantages in combatting the threat of terror. So, if something doesn’t seem quite right, please get in touch with us - communities defeat terrorism.”
Every year thousands of reports from the public help police tackle the terrorist threat. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and ACT by reporting to police in confidence at gov.uk/ACT or 0800 789 321. In an emergency always call 999.
Reporting won’t ruin lives, but it could save them. Action Counters Terrorism.
Remember, in an emergency, always dial 999.