Blackburn student jailed for terrorism offences

A man who travelled to Turkey to try and join ISIS fighters in Syria has been jailed. 

Ednane Mahmood of Blackburn was found guilty following a 12-day trial of disseminating a terrorist publication and engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism. 

He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square to four years in prison. 

In the early hours of 18 September 2014, Mahmood left his home in Blackburn and travelled from Manchester Airport to Sofia Airport in Bulgaria. 

From here, he travelled by bus to Turkey to a town near the Syrian border, where on 20 September 2014 he then tried to make contact with a number of people asking for urgent help, including one man who he believed was fighting in Syria at the time. 

Mahmood’s requests went unanswered and the next day, following an exchange of messages with his family, they persuaded him to travel back to the UK. Mahmood travelled back to Manchester Airport from Turkey on 21 September 2014. 

Items were seized from Mahmood’s home. The examination of a computer showed that before leaving the UK, he had actively searched for online and watched a large number of ISIS videos, including executions of soldiers and hostages. 

He shared some of these publications online and on 31 August 2014 posted an image on his Facebook page that contained the words, “I wish I could fight in the cause of Allah and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed.” 

Mahmood had also researched different ways of travelling to Syria and nearby destinations and how to gain access to these countries. 

A letter was found by police that Mahmood had left for his family, detailing his belief in Jihad and that he had left them to fight and die for this cause. 

Mahmood was later arrested for terrorism offences. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, head of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “Prior to leaving the UK to try and gain entry to Syria, it was clear from Mahmood’s actions that he was a strong supporter of the ISIS cause and was intent on joining this terrorist group in Syria. 

“He did not tell his family anything about his plans and once they learned of his whereabouts, they did everything they could to persuade him to come home. 

“Thankfully within this three day period, Mahmood had not been successful in his efforts to cross the border to Syria. 

“Clearly, anyone intending to travel to Syria or Iraq to fight should be in no doubt that the police will take the strongest possible action against them. 

“However, in an ideal world, we would like to stop people well before they get to this stage and the earlier we can be told about someone’s intentions to join a group like this, the better.