Mother 'betrayed' by her son's terror sentence

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMajida Sarwar says no mother is going to come forward to the police if they know their son will be put behind bars

A mother who co-operated with police after her son travelled to Syria to "do jihad" has said she feels betrayed by the length of the jail sentence he received.

On Friday, Yusuf Sarwar was jailed for 12 years and eight months for conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.

His mother Majida told the BBC she believed the sentence would discourage other Muslims from helping the police.

The security minister said the sentence gave a "clear message".

"This case clearly demonstrates the government's clear message that people who commit, plan and support acts of terror abroad will face justice when they come back to the UK," James Brokenshire said.

'Let down'

Last year, Mrs Sarwar found a letter from her son, in which he said he had gone to "do jihad". He was in Syria with a group allied to al-Qaeda.

Mrs Sarwar told police, who arrested her son and his childhood friend, Nahin Ahmed, when they returned to the UK.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Yusuf Sarwar went to Syria last year and was arrested on his return

But she said police had let her down and claimed her son had travelled to Syria with good intentions.

She told the BBC: "As soon as I found out about the letter I went to the police and co-operated but the police have betrayed me and misused me. I am isolated."

She added: "If I had known they would put my son behind bars I would not have told them about the letter."

'Violent extremism'

Both men pleaded guilty to terrorism charges at Woolwich Crown Court in London in July.

On Friday, Sarwar and Ahmed were sentenced by Judge Michael Topolski, who described the two men as "deeply committed to violent extremism".

Image copyright Majida Sarwar
Image caption Mrs Sarwar said her son had gone to Syria with good intentions

Mrs Sarwar added: "Is there justice in this? Other mothers are not going to come forward to the police.

"Nobody's going to hand their son in, knowing that they're going to be behind bars."

Also on Friday another man, Mashudur Choudhury, was jailed for four years for preparing for acts of terrorism in Syria.

Mrs Sarwar said: "The sentencing is harsh. This government needs to change laws. Some people who have come back from Syria were given only four years and this is too harsh."

Mr Brokenshire welcomed the sentence handed to the men.

He added: "Extremism of any kind has absolutely no place in our society and we encourage the public to be vigilant and report any activity or behaviour they deem suspicious."

Related Topics

More on this story