Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Brother guilty of funding sister who joined Islamic State group

Salim Wakil Image copyright Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE)
Image caption Salim Wakil was convicted by a unanimous verdict following a seven-day trial at London's Old Bailey

A British man whose sister joined the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria has been found guilty of funding terrorism by sending her money.

Salim Wakil, 25, of Fleet, Hampshire, accepted transferring a payment of £2,500 to his sister Sumaiyyah but told London's Old Bailey his intention was to help her return to the UK.

She fled abroad aged 16 in August 2014, leaving the family home at night.

He was convicted by a unanimous verdict and will be sentenced on 8 February.

Judge Rebecca Poulet QC, who granted the defendant conditional bail, said he was "undoubtedly naive" and not in "any sense himself supportive of Islamic State".

Image copyright Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE)
Image caption A CCTV image of Salim Wakil in a bank withdrawing cash that he would later transfer to his sister

Salim Wakil, who is one of 10 children born to parents of Bangladeshi heritage, accepted transferring a payment to Sumaiyyah Wakil via Western Union, but the court heard that instead of returning to the UK she remained in Syria and later asked for more.

A letter left behind for her relatives when she first fled said she wanted to die as a martyr and warned them not to inform the authorities, the court heard.

"I love you with all my heart but none of you understand Islam in its proper sense," it read.

The Wakil family kept quiet but police learned of her flight and found the letter a year later during a search of their home, the Old Bailey was told.

Sumaiyyah Wakil, who has married two British IS fighters while in Syria including 19-year-old Mehdi Hassan who was later killed, used Skype, WhatsApp and encrypted messaging apps to correspond with her family, jurors heard.

Detectives were provided with some of the communications during regular visits to the Wakil home and told the family not send money to Syria.

Image copyright Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE)
Image caption Sumaiyyah Wakil used Skype, WhatsApp and encrypted messaging apps to correspond with her family

The court was told Sumaiyyah Wakil initially approached another brother, Shamim Wakil, who said he would not send any money because British authorities regarded it as "supporting terrorism and we would all get arrested".

She later turned her attention to Salim Wakil, her eldest brother, who at first also refused, telling her: "You've already nearly ruined our lives and you want it to happen again? Haha think again."

However, in early 2017 he made a series of bank withdrawals and travelled to another town in order to transfer the cash to an intermediary elsewhere in the Middle East, the court heard. He was charged by police the following year.

He told the jury on other occasions he had refused to send her money because the police had advised it was not allowed.

It is understood that Sumaiyyah Wakil is still alive in Syria.

Det Ch Supt Kath Barnes, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), said: "Salim Wakil was manipulated by his sister into sending money to her, which could very easily be used for terrorism purposes.

"By making the decision to send money and ignoring the advice of the police, Salim Wakil broke the law."

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