Mohammed Afzal (06/09/2004) of Preston, Lancashire has been jailed for 3 years and 9 months following an investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing North West (CTPNW) and supported by Lancashire Constabulary.
The sentencing yesterday (02/08/2023) followed an earlier hearing where Afzal pleaded guilty on 13 February 2023 to four offences relating to the dissemination of terrorist publications (contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006) and four offences relating to the collection of terrorist information (contrary to section 58 of TACT 2000).
The investigation was carried out into the online activities of Afzal after he was found to be posting extremist related material on social media.
On 29 June 2022, Afzal was arrested on suspicion of encouraging terrorism and the dissemination of terrorist publications, and a number of electronic devices were seized from his home address. At the time, Afzal refused to provide the passcodes for the seized devices and he was released under investigation.
Careful examination of the devices enabled CTPNW to extract digital material from Afzal’s mobile phone and a number of terrorist related documents were identified. The investigation team were then able to link a number of social media accounts to Afzal that were found to contain a large amount of extremist material deemed to encourage terrorism.
On 5 October 2022, Afzal was re-arrested on suspicion of collecting and disseminating terrorist material but refused to answer any questions during his interview. On liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service, CTPNW were able to successfully charge Afzal with four offences relating to the dissemination of terrorist publications (contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006) and four offences relating to the collection of terrorist information (contrary to section 58 of the TACT 2000). This included possession of viable bomb making instructions.
Afzal was then remanded into custody until his next court appearance on 13 February 2023 at Liverpool Crown Court, where he pleaded guilty to all 8 counts on the indictment.
Andy Meeks, Detective Superintendent at Counter Terrorism Policing North West, said:
“CTPNW is working tirelessly to ensure that people like Afzal are identified, arrested, and brought before the courts. We will not accept any action that attempts to divide our communities and will hold to account anyone who seeks to incite hatred.
“The public are key to helping us achieve this and I would encourage anyone who is aware of extremist material online – whether that be posts, websites, or any activity of concern – to report it to police so we can act on it.”
You can report in confidence at: gov.uk/ACT