South East Wales

Terror trial: Men who helped teen go to Syria jailed

Adeel Ulhaq, Kristen Brekke and Forhad Rahman Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption From left: Adeel Ulhaq, Kristen Brekke and Forhad Rahman

Three men who helped a Cardiff teenager travel to Syria to fight with Islamic extremists have been jailed.

Kristen Brekke, 20, from Cardiff, Forhad Rahman, from Gloucestershire, and Adeel Ulhaq, from Nottinghamshire, were found guilty of helping in the preparation of an act of terrorism.

Rahman and Ulhaq, both 21, were each sentenced to five years, while Brekke was given four years and six months.

Ulhaq was also sentenced to an additional year for funding terrorism.

The Old Bailey heard they helped Aseel Muthana, 19, join so-called Islamic State in February 2014 and that they all shared the same "highly-radical ideology".

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Media captionMobile phone footage - featuring Brekke and Muthana playing with a BB gun on a hill above Cardiff Bay Retail Park - helped prove Brekke knew exactly what his friend had been planning

The court was told Rahman and Ulhaq had also expressed a desire to follow Muthana to Syria to fight with militants.

Sentencing the men, Judge Rebecca Poulet said: "You Rahman and Ulhaq were waiting in the wings to assist anyone willing to travel to fight."

She told Brekke his sentence was lower because there was no extremist material found on his computer and there was no suggestion he himself intended to travel to Syria.

He was "perhaps naive," she added.

Propaganda video

The court had heard how Aseel Muthana's older brother Nasser Muthana, who he idolised, had previously travelled to war-torn Syria with four other young men from Cardiff.

Nasser later achieved "notoriety" when he and other young men made a propaganda video for IS called There Is No life Without Jihad which was released in June 2014, the jury was told.

Brekke, along with Rahman, of Cirencester, and Ulhaq, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, helped Aseel travel to Syria three months after his brother.

Brekke, who worked with Aseel in an ice cream cafe, helped his friend obtain a new passport as his had been confiscated by his parents after his brother left the country, the court was told.

Image caption Aseel Muthana travelled to Syria in 2014

He also bought and stored combat clothing for him at his Grangetown home.

Rahman paid for his flight, and Ulhaq provided him with tactical advice on equipment he would need.

They were both in contact with Aseel online.

All three men were found guilty of the preparation of terrorist acts while Ulhaq was also convicted of entering into or becoming concerned in a terrorist funding arrangement.

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Ulhaq spoke with Ifthekar Jaman via Skype. Jaman died in Syria in 2013

The court heard Ulhaq also paid for ammunition for IS, having arranged the transfer of funds through coded messages.

He had a Twitter account called Guilty Muslim which appeared to be a light hearted way of fundraising for charities.

But it showed support for the terror group and in private messages he discussed his plans to travel to Syria to fight.

The Charity Commission later froze his account and paid the money he had raised to a suitable registered charity.

Image caption Brekke and Aseel Muthana became friends after working together at an ice cream cafe in Grangetown

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