UK radical preacher found guilty of supporting ISIS

From Aditi Khanna London, Aug 16 (PTI) A UK-based Islamist preacher, knownfor his radical views, has been found guilty of supporting theIslamic State (ISIS) terrorist group and faces up to 10 yearsin jail, it emerged today. Anjem Choudary was convicted at the Old Bailey court inLondon on July 28 but the judge had imposed a reporting banwhile a linked trial of Choudary’s associate was ongoing. "You have been convicted by the jury of offences whichyou must expect to result in sentences of imprisonment,"Justice Holroyd told the 49-year-old preacher. "It is true that you have complied with the conditions ofyour bail. I am afraid however, it has been an evidentlygrudging compliance and you have made your disregard for thecourt and its processes abundantly plain throughout theseproceedings," the judge said. Choudary and his co-defendant, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman,33, were found guilty of telling their supporters to obey ISISleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and travel to Syria to supportIslamic State or the so-called "caliphate". The duo face up to 10 years in jail for inviting supportfor a proscribed outfit and will be sentenced on September 6. "Terrorist organisations thrive and grow because peoplesupport them and that is what this case is about. Do notconfuse that with the right of people to follow the religionof their choice or to proclaim support for a caliphate,"Prosecutor Richard Whittam told the trial. London-born Choudary, who has a long history with groupsinvolved in radical Islamist demonstrations in the UK, such asthe now-banned Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK, denied he wasinviting support for ISIS and claimed to be a "lecturer inSharia law" giving "the Islamic perspective". Just before his conviction, he told Sky News: "If youlook at my speeches, I have said the same thing for 20 years.For me, it is a matter of worship. "If people are implementing the Sharia, then I cannot shyaway from what the divine text says in relationship to that.If you cannot say when you believe in something and you cannotshare that view, then you don’t really have freedom to expressyourself in this country." Choudary’s conviction comes after a two-year,multi-million-pound investigation by Scotland Yard designed tobring to an end his two decades of extremist preaching. He had been arrested last year and been in and out ofprison after breaching his bail conditions. Commander Dean Haydon, head of Scotland YardÂ’s counterterrorism command said: "We have a key individual here in theUK posting vast amounts of information on social media that isradicalising individuals in the UK. Part of that informationencourages them to travel to Syria. His mistake was pledgingan oath of allegiance. That was the key piece of evidence thattipped him over the line for a terrorist offence." Among Choudary’s many UK followers is Indian-origin ISISfighter Siddhartha Dhar dubbed as ‘Jihadi Sid’ by the UK mediaand now believed to be among the senior ISIS commanders. One of the Bangladeshi attackers, who killed 22 peopleduring an assualt on a Dhaka cafe on July 1, was also afollower of Choudary on social media. PTI AK ZH AKJZH


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