26 Nov 2014

British brothers jailed after Calais terror training bust

Two brothers who were arrested in Calais trying to get back into Britain have been jailed after admitting to conspiring to attend a terror training camp in Syria.

Mohommod Nawaz, 30, was jailed for four-and-a-half years and his younger brother Hamza Nawaz, 24, was sentenced to three years after both men pleaded guilty to conspiring to attend a place used for terrorist training between 1 January 2012 and 16 September 2013.

Mohommod Nawaz also pleaded guilty to having ammunition without a firearms certificate after he was found to be in possession of “trophy” bullets.

The brothers were arrested in Calais trying to board the Dover ferry back to Britain. Mohommod’s bag contained five rounds of AK47 ammunition which he was planning to show off to his friends, the court heard.

The pair took pictures of their camp and had posed in combat fatigues. Police recovered balaclavas, heavy duty clothing and boots covered in dust from the Syrian desert.

On searching the pair police found an additional four mobile phones, MP3 player and a SIM card hidden in Hamza Nawaz’s Quran. A timetable for training was also found.

The fled their family home in east London where they were still living with their parents in August 2013. Data from their phones revealed they had travelled from their east London home to Calais, via the Channel Tunnel, before flying on to Lyon, Istanbul and Ankara.

Police recovered videos of the houses they stayed in Turkey and images showing their attempt to cross a river from Turkey into Syria.

Mohommod sent a relative a message stating: “We’ve left to come to Syria. We know everyone will be angry with what we have done but it is something we wanted to do.”

The court heard how the brothers sent a number of messages to family and friends from Syria, one read: “We are in the mountains at the moment. Its exactly like home.”

An examination of the family computer revealed repeated searches for “How to join the Syrian Mujahideen”.

Mohommod left the UK in breach of his licence following a previous conviction for conspiracy to commit kidnap and false imprisonment.

His victim was held for 23 hours, stripped of his Rolex and burnt with hot knives to force him to him to reveal his PIN number while a £50,000 ransom was demanded from his relatives.

Prevent strategy

Counter Terrorism Acting Commander Terri Nicholson said: “The first in a series of landmark sentences has today been handed down to two brothers who travelled to Syria to attend a terrorist training camp.

“The sentence highlights the critical work police and security services carry out to identify individuals returning from conflict zones. This comes at a time when the global concern about the threat posed by returnees is intensifying.

“We need communities and families to bring to our attention anyone they perceive may be vulnerable, a danger or showing signs of radicalisation before they choose to travel. Preventing tragedies is our priority and together with our partners we have a range of options available to support families and individuals at risk.”