Five men convicted of organising and delivering terrorist speeches in Luton in 2015 have been jailed for over 20 years today, Friday, 10 February, at the Old Bailey.
Yousaf Bashir, 36 from Luton was sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment for one count of addressing a meeting to encourage support for a proscribed organisation.
Rajib Khan, 38 from Luton was sentenced to a total of six years and six months’ imprisonment - 18 months for one count of arranging, managing or assisting in arranging or managing a meeting to support a proscribed organisation, and five years for one count of addressing a meeting to encourage support for a proscribed organisation. Both sentences will run concurrently.
Mohammed Istiak Alamgir, 37 from Luton, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for three counts of addressing a meeting to encourage support for a proscribed organisation.
They were convicted at the Old Bailey on 16 August 2016.
Mohammed Sufiyan Choudry, 23 from Maidenhead was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for one count of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation.
Ziaur Rahman, 39 from Luton, was sentenced to two and half years’ imprisonment for three counts of arranging, managing or assisting in arranging or managing a meeting to support a proscribed organisation.
They were convicted on Friday, 13 January following a retrial at the Old Bailey.
The five convictions are the result of an intelligence-led operation by Bedfordshire Police and the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, which identified the men as avid supporters of Daesh.
Bedfordshire Police launched an investigation into the activities of proscribed terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) and, using a range of tactics, officers gathered evidence and intelligence which they shared with the Met Police in 2015.
The evidence included the fact that the five men had attended meetings in June and July 2015 at a church in Luton and a marquee in Rahman’s back garden.
At the meetings, Khan, Bashir, Choudry and Alamgir delivered incendiary speeches to around 50 to 70 people at a time, including children. The group praised Daesh and encouraged others to support the proscribed organisation, including by travelling to Syria to fight.
The group’s advocacy of terrorism was also evident outside the meetings. Alamgir collected money at the talks to pay the legal fees of convicted terrorist Omar Bakri Muhammed, seen as the head of ALM.
Officers from Bedfordshire Police and the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command swooped on the men at their home addresses in December 2015.
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.”
Detective Superintendent Glen Channer, from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit, said: “Luton is a fantastic town with great diversity and strong communities; however we are aware there are elements with extreme views who prey on the vulnerable.
“This was a complex investigation which was launched to target those who seek to influence others with their poisonous rhetoric. We used a range of tactics to collect evidence in order to bring these men to justice.
“This case is another example to show that we simply will not tolerate those who spread fear and hate in our communities and will continue to target, arrest and disrupt anyone with extreme views.”
Anyone with concerns about suspicious activity are urged to call the Anti Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. If you are concerned that someone you know is being radicalised, you will find help and advice from a wide range of agencies at www.preventtragedies.co.uk