The second of two brothers who were part of a group who planned to travel to Syria and fight alongside the terrorist organisation Daesh has today, Thursday 17 May, been sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court.
18-year-old Yousif Alsyed, from west London, was sentenced to two years and three months for preparation of terrorist acts and one year for dissemination of terrorist publications, both contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006. Both sentences will run concurrently and come after he pleaded guilty to both offences on 11 January.
His brother, Ahmed Alsyed, 20, also of west London was sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment earlier this year in April after pleading guilty on 11 January to collection of information, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000, preparation of terrorist acts, and dissemination of terrorist publications, both contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.
Three of their associates had already been sentenced – including two who were given custodial sentences that totaled six years and 10 months – after pleading guilty to numerous terrorism offences.
Counter Terrorism Policing detectives began their intelligence-led investigation into the group’s activities in spring 2016. They identified that an unknown individual was using the encrypted messaging app Telegram to send messages relating their aspirations of travelling to Syria to “become a martyr”.
The individual, who in one message said he was waiting for the “green light to travel”, was using the moniker ‘Abu Ibrahim’.
Through their enquiries, specialist digital forensics officers established that Yousif Alsyed was the individual posing as ‘Abu Ibrahim’.
On 10 August 2016, police officers at Heathrow Airport stopped the Alsyed brothers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 after they arrived on a flight from Egypt, where they had been holidaying.
Detectives seized their mobile phones and analysed them, recovering a significant quantity of Islamic extremist propaganda material. They also recovered Telegram conversations between the brothers and an individual in Yemen discussing plans for travelling to Libya or Syria for the purpose of joining Daesh.
The investigation continued, expanding to look at three other like-minded individuals identified that the brothers had been messaging.
These included Mohammed Ali, now 18, from south west London; a 16-year-old boy from south London and a 15-year-old boy from east London.
After their return from Egypt, both Alsyed brothers acquired new phones which police seized from them when they arrested them in February 2017. Specialists also analysed these phones, finding crucial evidence that the brothers had continued to communicate with facilitators regarding potential travel, as well as communicating with Ali and the two teenagers.
Commander Clarke Jarrett said: “The evidence we recovered showed the clear intent of the Alsyed brothers to go to Syria, where they would join Daesh.
“It is patent to me that their intention, once they had joined the terrorist group, was to fight alongside it as the brothers had invested time in training in the UK, including spending time at a paintballing camp and joining a gym.
“The brothers shared with each other gory videos and images glorifying Daesh. They had their hearts set on joining their fight but our investigation stopped them.”
In early February 2017, counter terrorism detectives identified that Ali and the 16-year-old had booked flights from London Gatwick to Istanbul, departing on 14 February 2017 with a return date of 22 February 2017.
Acting on this information, on the morning of 14 February 2017, officers executed search warrants at the home addresses of the Alsyed brothers, Ali and the 16-year-old.
Detectives seized their passports and recovered evidence including mobile phones, laptops, camping equipment and a list of items needed when camping for long periods.
Police reviewed the evidence, including trawling through a plethora of messages and files on the mobile phones and laptops, subsequently arresting all five males on 21 February 2017.
They were subsequently charged on 24 February 2017.
On 9 June 2017, the 16-year-old pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, for which he was sentenced at the Old Bailey to two years and eight months in prison on 3 November 2017.
On 6 July 2017, Ali from south west London pleaded guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and collection of information, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. On 3 November 2017 he was sentenced at the Old Bailey to four years and two months in prison.
On 7 June 2017, at Westminster Youth Court, the 15-year-old boy, pleaded guilty to collection of information, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was not charged with offences relating to travelling to Syria to join a terrorist organisation.
On 31 July 2017, he was sentenced to a 12-month Intensive Referral Order which stipulates that he must take part in a de-radicalisation programme; is subject to a curfew for three months; must undertake 40 hours reparation work and will be monitored by a dedicated youth worker throughout the 12 months.
Concluding Commander Jarrett, said: “This is an investigation that began with some intelligence and from that detectives were able to identify Yousif Alsyed, then his brother and three others, who were immersed in various terrorist offences.
“If anyone has suspicions about someone who is behaving oddly, sending messages that seem extreme or anything else that strikes them as not quite right, please act on your instinct and report it to police.”
Suspicions can be reported in confidence at gov.uk/ACT or by calling 0800 789 321.