Jihadist's sister 'acted out of misguided loyalty'

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Sneha ChowdhuryImage source, Ben Stansall/Getty Images
Image caption,
Sneha Chowdhury was convicted of one count of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism

The sister of a jihadist convicted of planning a terror attack at London tourist hotspots acted out of "misguided loyalty", a judge has said.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 29, from Luton, was jailed for life last month for a planned attack.

On Tuesday, his sister Sneha Chowdhury, 26, was given a suspended two-year prison term for failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism.

The judge said there was "no evidence" she shared "his extremist views".

Former Uber driver Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was arrested after unwittingly revealing to undercover police officers his plans to target tourist attractions, including Madame Tussauds, the gay Pride parade and an open-top sightseeing bus.

He also bragged about deceiving an Old Bailey jury which cleared him following a previous terror-related trial.

Media caption,

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury unknowingly revealed his plans to undercover police

A subsequent trial heard his sister knew he was training with wooden swords, practising knife fighting and rehearsing beheading attacks at the family home in Luton.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC told the court: "Ms Chowdhury was aware of his training, that it was training relating to violence, the use of weapons, in particular a knife or sword, and a further attack by him was imminent."

He said there was no evidence she had extremist views, and she acted out of "loyalty to her brother rather than a shared ideological position with him".

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was jailed for life with a minimum of 25 years last month

She was found guilty by a jury and Judge Andrew Lees said he had decided to take the "exceptional" step of suspending her prison sentence.

He imposed a 60-day rehabilitation requirement and notification order, after finding she does not "present a risk or danger to the public".

"I accept you were subject to controlling behaviour by the male members of your family," the judge told her. "Nevertheless, your relationship with your brother is very close.

"There is no evidence that you shared or had any interest in his extremist views. I accept you didn't do what you should've done out of a misguided loyalty to your brother."

Commander Richard Smith, the head of the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command, said there was no "acceptable reason" for listening to someone say they are planning to kill innocent people and not reporting it to police.

"Sneha Chowdhury wilfully kept her brother's horrific secret, but not every case has to end this way," he said.

"If relatives report indications that a loved one is becoming radicalised early on, there is an opportunity for authorities to intervene and help them before they become too deeply entrenched. All it takes is a phone call."

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