A man has been jailed after an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command revealed that he had travelled to Syria where he joined the terrorist group Al Qaeda in 2013.
Mohammed Yamin, 25 (11.09.93), of Southwold Road, Hackney was sentenced today, Friday, 11 October, at the Old Bailey to 10-and-a-half years and ordered to serve a further year on license for Engaging in Preparation of Terrorist Acts contrary to Section 5(1) Terrorism Act 2006.
He was also sentenced to four years consisting of three years imprisonment and one year on license for Membership of a Proscribed Organisation contrary to Section 11 Terrorism Act 2000. Both sentences are to run concurrently.
Yamin had pleaded guilty at the same court on Monday 15 July to engaging in preparation of terrorist acts contrary to Section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 and membership of a proscribed organisation, namely Al Qaeda, between 10 July 2013 and 1 June 2014, contrary to Section 11 TACT 2000.
On 10 July 2013, Yamin left the UK and travelled to Syria via Romania.
On 31 May 2014, upon returning to the UK, Yamin was arrested at Heathrow Airport under Section 17, TACT 2000 as officers believed he had travelled to Syria in order to provide clothing and equipment to others involved in terrorist activity in the region. Yamin denied this, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, he was released with no further action.
In 2015, a VICE news film, which had by this time been posted on YouTube, was brought to the attention of police. The film, which had been taken in 2013, featured interviews and footage of various people said to be fighting alongside Al Qaeda in Syria. Two of the men interviewed on the film wore combat clothing and spoke with British accents. One of these men was also seen in the film brandishing an automatic rifle. However, the faces of the men were covered and officers were unable to identify who they were at this time.
In 2017, police officers were alerted to a man acting suspiciously by the ‘Women at War’ memorial in Whitehall. The man – who was later identified as Yamin – was spoken to by officers. Whilst he was not arrested at this point, the encounter was flagged to Counter Terrorism officers and, given his suspicious behaviour and the account he gave to the officers, further enquiries into Yamin were made.
As a result of the further enquiries, the officers identified that Yamin may have been one of the men in the VICE news video. The news video was compared to body-worn video footage taken when police spoke to Yamin in Whitehall, and further enquiries with experts in facial and voice analysis confirmed that the man in the VICE news video was likely to be Yamin.
Further enquiries were carried out, which led to Yamin’s arrest on 30 January 2019 and he was charged the following day with the offences above.
Detective Chief Superintendent Alexis Boon of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command is absolutely committed to investigating and bringing to justice anyone who travels to Syria, or anywhere else in the world, to join or engage in terrorist activity.
“Anyone who is thinking of returning to the UK having been involved in terrorism abroad can expect to be investigated and as we’ve shown with this case, we will examine all evidence available so that they are held to account for their actions.”
Any suspicious behaviour or activity can be reported via the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) website at www.gov.uk/ACT or alternatively, call the police in confidence on 0800 789 321.