05:08PM, Friday 10 February 2017
A 23-year-old man from Maidenhead has been sentenced to four years in prison for encouraging support for the so-called Islamic State.
Mohammed Sufyian Choudry, of Laggan Road, was sentenced at the Old Bailey in London today (Friday).
The court heard that during a 37-minute speech made at a house in Luton in July 2015, recorded by an undercover officer, Choudry spoke about a ‘wave’ that must be either joined or drowned under.
His speech also made references to 40 trucks filled with explosives driving down Oxford Street, the court was told.
Sentencing, Judge Michael Topolski QC told the court: “It is clear from your speech that by the time you came to be invited to make it [the speech], your views had hardened to a point where you could be described as someone committed to a violent jihadist mindset and therefore dangerous in the ordinary sense of the word.
“Given your age and your background, on all of the evidence placed before the jury the description of you during the trial as the next generation of radical Islamists was justified.”
Defending, Patrick O’Connor QC told the court that sections of Choudry’s speech had been ‘rash and irresponsible’.
But he said his client had been a ‘force for good’ during his time in custody at Wandsworth Prison.
“There are real embers here on the evidence for the future that Mr Choudry could be a responsible, industrious and mainstream Muslim,” Mr O’Connor said.
He added Choudry had no influential status within the United Kingdom’s Muslim community and had been subjected to a ‘narrow minded’ view of Islam from an early age.
Choudry’s conviction followed an intelligence-led operation by Bedfordshire Police and the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.
The 23-year-old first stood trial in August 2016 but the jury could not reach a verdict.
He was found guilty of one count of encouraging support for the so-called Islamic State following a re-trial in January.
Four other men from Luton were also handed more than 15 years behind bars between them at the sentencing.
Mohammed Istiak Alamgir, 37, was sentenced to six years in prison for three counts of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation.
Yousuf Bashir, 36, and Rajib Khan, 38, were sentenced to four-and-a-half years and five years in prison respectively for encouraging support for a proscribed organisation.
Ziaur Rahman, 39, was given two-and-a-half years in jail for three counts of arranging, managing or assisting in a meeting to support a proscribed organisation.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: "Today's sentencing is good news for communities in London and Luton as these men were closely associated with Al-Muhajiroun, a dangerous group which has inspired and influenced numerous terrorists.
"My officers and those of Bedfordshire Police worked hard to gather the evidence needed to ensure this group's conviction. They and Luton social services have also worked to safeguard the vulnerable children we identified were taken to the meetings and subjected to the radical speeches."
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