London

Ali twins jailed for funding terrorism abroad

Identical twin brothers from London, who admitted raising money in England to fund terrorism abroad, have been jailed for three years.

Mohammed Shabir Ali and Mohammed Shafiq Ali, 25, were each jailed for three years at the Old Bailey.

The pair, from Stepney Green, were part of a "network of support" for their brother who was at a terror training camp in Somalia, the court heard.

The judge said they were not extremists but they had contributed to terrorism.

The Old Bailey heard the men raised the money between August 2008 and June 2011.

They tried to send money to their brother, Mohammed Shamim Ali, while he was undergoing terrorist training in Somalia.

The pair were recorded speaking on the phone to him about collecting the money from members of the public by pretending it was for charity, prosecutor Timothy Cray said.

While police say they will never know the exact amount of money they sent over, the twins admitted the charge on the basis it was £3,000.

'Financial help'

Sentencing father-of-three Mohammed Shabir and Mohammed Shafiq, who is expecting his first child in October, the judge said he recognised that their primary concern was providing financial help to their 29-year-old brother.

But Mr Justice Fulford added that this support was for someone involved in "terrorist activities in war-torn countries of Africa".

"It is accepted by the prosecution that they sent funds primarily out of concern for their brother's physical and mental health, although it is important to note this was in the context of his planned involvement in terrorism," he said.

The judge went on: "The courts must reflect the seriousness of offences of this kind in the sentences that are handed down, given that they were intended to support terrorism."

The recording of the phone conversation between the three brothers was discovered at the home of one of them.

Al-Shabaab camp

In it, Mohammed Shamim talked about the hardships of life in the jihadist "al-Shabab" camp, where he was being trained to use guns and automatic weapons. He described his trainers as dangerous, violent men.

The court heard the conversation had been recorded because the brothers believed it would be the final time they spoke before their brother embarked on a terrorist mission.

At one point he had to climb into a tree in the Somali countryside in order to get a phone signal to continue the conversation.

The prosecution admitted the twins were at the "lower level" of plans to raise and send money abroad.

The ringleader was an associate, Shabaz Hosain, who was sentenced to five years in prison in March after pleading guilty to sending $14,000 (nearly £9,000) to Mohammed Shamim.

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