UK radical Islamic preacher jailed for five-and-a-half years
Choudary, 49, was convicted at the Old Bailey court in London in July and a judge on Tuesday ruled that the “calculating and dangerous” man should be locked up behind bars. The preacher, who had backed the ISIS in an oath of allegiance published online, was imprisoned alongside his 33-year-old aide Mohammed Rahman, also sentenced to five years and six months in prison.
Choudary’s barrister Mark Summers had argued that his client regretted breaking the law and urged Justice Holroyde not to sentence him on the basis of his 20 years of notoriety, nor on claims he had indoctrinated “a generation of people to commit direct acts of terrorism”.
However, the judge concluded a custodial sentence was a given even as his supporters shouted “Allahu Akbar” from the public gallery at Old Bailey court.
“You are free to hold your views but Parliament has made it an offence to invite support for a proscribed organisation. The reason is obvious. A terrorist organisation with the support of many will be stronger than that with the support of a few. You referred happily to the prospect of the ISIS flag flying over 10 Downing Street and the White House,” the judge told Choudary.
The trial heard that the preacher, viewed by British security services as a key force in radicalising young Muslims, had been the “mouthpiece” of Omar Bakri Mohammed, currently in jail in Lebanon, and Mohammed Fachry, head of the banned group in Indonesia.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, said after his conviction had become public last month: “These men have stayed just within the law for many years, but there is no-one within the counter-terrorism world that has any doubts of the influence that they have had, the hate they have spread and the people that they have encouraged to join terrorist organisations.
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