A HUSBAND and wife from Bradford have been jailed on terrorism charges after he made plans to travel to Syria to join IS.
Leeds Crown Court today heard Ijaz Khan, 29, was arrested on February 1, 2015 at Manchester Airport after information was received he was preparing to fly to Athens and then on to Syria to fight with the terrorist organisation.
His wife Afsheen Khan, 28, had provided some money from joint money in her account for him to buy the ticket and £1,000 cash that was found on him.
The court heard Afsheen Khan’s brother Rohan Malik had joined Islamic State when he was only 17 after flying out of Leeds Bradford Airport to Turkey without telling his family what he was doing.
He remained in contact with his sister and family who tried to persuade him to return without success.
Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, said it was through that contact that Ijaz Khan “became radicalised” and decided to join his brother-in-law.
In December 2014 they heard the news that Rohan Malik, who was only 18, had been killed in a coalition airstrike in Syria.
Rather than joining his brother-in-law in the fight Ijaz Khan then decided “to replace him on the battlefield”.
Mr Sandiford said Afsheen Khan knew what her husband planned and withdrew the cash from her accounts to enable him to travel.
A video discovered on Ijaz Khan’s phone express his farewell and belief he would become a martyr himself.
Imran Shaffi, representing Ijaz Khan, said he had previously been someone with moderate views and a western outlook but the contact with his brother-in-law persuaded him to have different feelings.
He viewed the teenager as a younger brother and initially like others in the family had tried to persuade him to return but Rohan Malik wanted to become a martyr.
“In the grip of his grief over him the defendant resolved at the end of 2014 to travel to Syria himself. He was in an emotionally disturbed state and could no longer tell what was right or wrong.”
Mr Shaffi said Khan was now relieved that he had been stopped. He had been given a chance to spend more time with his wife and young daughter and no longer held the views he had. He knew he would have to be punished and had already missed the recent birth of his son.
Frida Hussain, for Afsheen Khan, who gave birth to her son while in New Hall Prison, said she had been in a very difficult position given that it was her husband who intended to go to Syria but was in an emotional state because of what had happened to her brother.
Ijaz Khan, of Sowden Road, Chellow Grange, admitted preparation for terrorism acts and was jailed for five years. His wife, aged 28, who admitted aiding and abetting the offence was jailed for 35 months.
The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said he accepted Khan had not disseminated material to radicalise others but he had planned to travel to Syria with the hopes of engaging in terrorism activities and if necessary becoming a martyr.
His wife had freely made her decisions to support him with money.
After the case, Detective Chief Superintendent Clive Wain, the head of the North East CTU, said “British citizens involved in terrorism in Syria and other conflict zones have the potential to pose a significant threat to the UK upon their return”
“Investigating and prosecuting people who facilitate terrorism is an important part of the counter terrorism effort. Those who actively support others to travel to support terrorist organisations are themselves committing terrorist offences and will be dealt with.
“We are aware of the far reaching effects on local communities and the families of those involved. 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 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 their local police on 101 or visit preventtragedies.co.uk to access relevant support and advice.
“Everybody has a responsibility for stopping people thinking of travelling to Syria or other war zones, including families and carers, who know them and are able to spot the early signs of radicalisation. We work in partnership with community members and groups to do this.”