UK

Teacher Jamshed Javeed admits Syria terror offences

Jamshed Javeed Image copyright Greater Manchester Police

A biology teacher has pleaded guilty to two Syria-related terror offences.

Jamshed Javeed, 30, of Levenshulme in Manchester, accepted he intended to travel to Syria to join rebels fighting against the government.

Javeed, who taught at Sharples School in Bolton, admitted two counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terror acts.

He was remanded in custody after the Woolwich Crown Court hearing and will be sentenced in December.

'Radical views'

Prosecutors say Javeed was arrested by counter-terrorism officers last December while preparing for a trip to Syria to join terror group Islamic State (IS), also known as Isis.

His family had earlier tried to stop him by taking and hiding his passport but he obtained a replacement document.

The teacher is said to have become rapidly radicalised from living an ordinary Western lifestyle to becoming someone determined to fight in the Middle East, having changed his appearance and behaviour from August 2013.

Greater Manchester Police said up until then, Javeed had been "an otherwise law-abiding man" who had a child, with another on the way.

Det Chief Supt Tony Mole, head of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "His family grew suspicious and were clearly intent on stopping him, but he ignored their pleas and told them he was determined to go through with his plans to travel to Syria."

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Media captionDet Chief Supt Tony Mole of North West Counter Terror Unit: "No indication this gentleman wanted to be a fighter for a terrorist organisation"

Mr Mole added: "What this case tells us is that the earlier we can be told about someone's intentions to join a group like this the better. Ideally, we would like to stop people well before they get to this stage."

He warned that those trying to travel to Syria to fight with IS puts "themselves and their communities in a very vulnerable position".

"Anyone who goes out to fight with Isis could potentially be a serious danger to communities if they return," he said.

"By the time you have been trained, had experience, built up future friendships and fully engaged with that terrorist rhetoric, you potentially become a dangerous individual so we take a robust approach to people that wish to engage with terrorist organisations."

At the time of his arrest, Javeed said he felt the British government was not doing enough to help the situation in Syria and that his actions were "honourable".

Woolwich Crown Court, in south-east London, heard he no longer supports the actions of IS in Syria and Iraq.

'Appalled at brutality'

In a basis of plea submitted by his lawyers, Javeed insisted he is not an extremist and "has never supported and does not support the aims of Isis as now revealed and understood".

His motivation had been hearing reports of the "extreme suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of (President) Bashar al-Assad's vicious regime".

It added: "He does not support suicide bombings, the execution of hostages, or forcing non-Muslims to convert to Islam."

He is "appalled at the indiscriminate brutality" of IS and would not now travel to Syria, according to the basis of plea.

Javeed learned his younger brother Mohammed Javeed was planning to travel to Syria in August or September last year, the document said.

He transferred £1,400 to his bank account - knowing that £1,100 of that money would pay for his brother and a friend to fly to Syria.

Javeed did not recruit, advise or encourage anyone to travel to the country, according to the basis of plea that prosecutors will now consider.

'Isolated incident'

Sharples School head teacher Rachel Quesnel said: "It came as a huge shock to be informed by the police that they had arrested a member of staff. We acted on the advice of the local authority and the police and suspended the individual."

She added: "There was no evidence whatsoever to link any criminal activity to our school or the wider community and no evidence to suggest that any pupils, staff or the wider community were under any kind of threat.

"We would like to reassure all our stakeholders that this was an isolated incident, involving one individual, and is in no way a reflection on Sharples School."

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