Aqib Imran: Birmingham man jailed for terror offences
A student who told an undercover MI5 officer he wanted to travel to fight in Libya has been jailed for eight and a half years for terror offences.
Aqib Imran, 23, from Birmingham, was convicted of preparing an act of terrorism in December after a retrial.
On Tuesday, a judge jailed him for eight and a half years for preparing to join IS, with a further three and a half on extended licence.
The judge accepted Imran was "immature" and "more of a follower than a leader".
During the trial, Imran - who was also convicted of possessing a terrorist handbook - denied having terrorist intentions, saying he had been sucked into a fantasy that began when he was attracted to a girl online.
Prior to his arrest, Imran had become friends online with Naa'imur Rahman, 21, who in July was convicted over a plot to kill the prime minister in a suicide attack and jailed for life.
Prosecutors told the Old Bailey that Imran and Rahman began talking online to people they thought were commanders from the Islamic State group.
But the mysterious personas were in fact a series of undercover investigators, starting with one from the FBI and eventually officers from the UK's MI5.
While Imran did nothing to put off Rahman from carrying out his plot, Mr Justice Hilliard said he would not sentence Imran on the basis that he encouraged it.
He said: "Mr Rahman was a very dangerous man and that must have been evident from any time spent with him but also from the messages the defendant exchanged with him.
"I am afraid nothing I have seen demonstrates a change of heart by the defendant or a real insight into what would be necessary to achieve that.
"His defence was simply this was talk, he never intended to follow through and the jury rejected that."
Alexis Boon, acting commander for the Met Police counter-terrorism command, said he was "pleased" with the outcome.
He added: "Our police investigation has stopped Imran from joining Daesh on the ground in Libya, where his subsequent actions could have assisted the terrorist organisation to further their aims."