A STUDENT who trained for terrorist combat at a Solihull paintballing centre and tried to join Islamic State has been jailed for nine years.
Humza Ali, 20, from Bromford Lane, Birmingham, has been given a nine year sentence for attempting to travel to Syria for terrorist purposes and distributing terrorist publications.
He was also given an extended five year licence period.
A jury heard how Ali – together with Ali Akbar Zeb, aged 19, from Northleigh Road, Birmingham, who pleaded guilty at the start of the trial to distributing extremist literature – shared graphic images and videos via a Whatsapp group to promote ISIS.
Zeb was handed a 21-month sentence.
The court heard Ali had posed for photos with six other people – including Gabriel Rasmus and Mohammed Ali Ahmed at the Delta Force paintballing near Hockley Heath in June 2014.
Rasmus pleaded guilty in November 2015 to preparing for acts of terrorism after he attempted to travel to Syria and is serving a four year and three month sentence in prison.
In a separate case, Mohammed Ahmed pleaded guilty in November 2016 to funding terrorism – he was sentenced to eight years.
As well as distributing images, evidence presented to the court stated that Humza Ali had planned to travel to Syria to fight with Daesh since 2013.
In an attempt to travel to Syria in January 2015, Ali booked a complex journey travelling from Birmingham to Scotland to Belfast then onto Dublin before boarding a flight to Turkey.
On arrival in Turkey, he was refused entry into the country.
When Ali arrived back in the UK three days later, his phone was seized and he was subsequently arrested on suspicion of preparing for terrorist acts.
When Ali’s phone was examined following his arrest, 100 pictures and videos were found glorifying actions of ISIS including graphic scenes of war, extreme violence carried out by the group and propaganda.
In July 2014, Ali met up with Brusholm Ziamani in Birmingham city centre and both were seen handing out leaflets entitled “Education under the Shari’ah” in Chamberlain Square.
At the time Ziamani was being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service and, in March 2015, he was jailed for 22 years for planning to behead a British soldier.
While investigating Humza Ali in 2015, detectives were informed he had sent an offensive message to a Birmingham City Labour Councillor.
Earlier this year, a further abusive message was sent by Ali to the councillor.
Ali was subsequently charged with two offences under the Malicious Communications Act.
He was also found guilty of these charges.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, Counter Terrorism Lead for West Midlands Police, said: “These men had a large amount of imagery, videos and documents on their phones, we also had evidence that Ali tried to get into Turkey for onward travel to Syria in order to fight for Daesh (ISIS).
“We cannot underestimate the dangerous nature of the propaganda produced by Daesh and the influence it can have; which is why it is so important to hold to account those who share with others these social media posts.
“If anyone is concerned that a friend or family member is thinking of travelling to Syria it is very important that they tell us as soon as possible.
“Police and other agencies can offer support to help safeguard those who are vulnerable to radicalisers.
“The sooner we can intervene, the better chance we have of preventing young people from becoming embroiled in the conflict and facing potential prosecution.”
Anyone concerned about someone travelling to, or returning from, Syria or another conflict zone or is worried about someone showing signs of being radicalised should contact police on 101 or visit www.preventtragedies.co.uk to access relevant support and advice.