Wales

Cardiff teen Syed Choudhury detained for Syria IS bid

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionSyed Choudhury was arrested in December

A Cardiff teenager with "chilling" extremist views has been detained for planning to travel to Syria to fight with so-called Islamic State

The Old Bailey heard the only reason 19-year-old Syed Choudhury did not go was because he could not find someone to travel with.

The Cardiff and Vale College student admitted to engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.

He will serve three years, four months at a young offenders' institution.

Originally from Bradford, Choudhury was living with his aunt in Cardiff.

The court heard he had been radicalised by people he regarded as elders after he left home to study in Cardiff.

'Ranted to officers'

His extreme views were revealed when he ranted to officers about Sharia law, saying he wanted to be the one to bring it to the UK while in custody.

"The bluntness of what you said on that occasion is chilling. It reveals your dangerousness," Judge Peter Rook QC, said.

Image copyright Jim Wood
Image caption Choudhury illustrated his support at a demonstration in Cardiff

"However I do accept you are immature. You are impressionable to indoctrination.

"You now say 'I'm lucky I came to prison, I'm lucky I got stopped'.

"You have shown some awareness of how misguided your earlier extremist position was."

The court heard how in July 2014, Choudhury attended a demonstration in Cardiff protesting about the conflict in Gaza.

He carried a banner proclaiming his support for Islamic State which brought him to the attention of anti-terrorism officers.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said in the weeks following the demonstration, Choudhury accessed websites about travelling to Syria and another one that was entitled "10 reasons to join ISIS".

Ms Whitehouse said he also downloaded images that showed his active interest in extremism and had conversations on social media about travelling to Turkey and Syria to fight.

Choudhury was arrested last December and during interview he repeatedly said he supported IS and that he would be happy to kill non-believers under Islamic State rule.

The court also heard throughout 2014 he was downloading extremist ideology and had saved £3,000 working in a fast food restaurant to fund his jihadi travel.

He was due to go on trial on Wednesday at the Old Bailey, but changed his plea after the jury had been sworn in.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Choudhury was immature and not academically capable, the judge said

Abdul Iqbal QC, defending, said the evidence showed Choudhury's enthusiasm to travel to Turkey or Syria, but said that Choudhury had not got further than making inquiries.

"There are no direct links with anyone in the area of Turkey or Syria who could assist him," he said.

"Naivety, immaturity and lack of insight are the hallmarks of his character," Mr Iqbal said.

Choudhury was vulnerable and was targeted by older individuals in the Cardiff area who indoctrinated him in extremist views, he added.

Following the sentence, South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Holland Police said: "Cardiff is a multi-cultural city and local policing teams, together with partner agencies, work hard to ensure that the people who live there can do so in a safe and peaceful environment.

"It is therefore vital that those who wish to support violent and murderous actions against others are identified both through rigorous policing and the support of communities who can report suspicious actions and behaviour."

More on this story