Mohammed Awan jailed for 10 years for terror plot

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Mohammed Abbas Idris AwanImage source, NECTU
Image caption,
Mohammed Abbas Idris Awan studied dentistry in Sheffield

The brother of a suicide bomber killed in Iraq has been jailed for 10 years for terror offences.

Dentistry student Mohammed Awan, from Huddersfield, was sentenced after being found guilty of preparing for terrorist acts and possessing material likely to be useful to a terrorist.

The 24-year-old was jailed for 10 years and ordered to serve three years extended licence on his release.

Awan's brother Rizwan Awan killed 30 people in a bomb blast in Iraq in 2016.

Judge Paul Watson QC said he believed Awan was "to a very large extent radicalised by the actions" of his elder brother.

Image source, NECTU
Image caption,
Anti-terror police said Awan had downloaded information on how to use ball bearings in attacks

Passing sentence at Sheffield Crown Court, Judge Watson said: "I am completely satisfied that you had intentionally adopted an outwardly innocent and respectable persona with the clear intention that, at some future point, you would be able to perpetrate a terrorist act without being detected."

Awan, a fourth-year dentistry student at the University of Sheffield, was arrested by anti-terror police in June after purchasing 500 ball bearings online.

During raids on his family home in Rudding Street, Huddersfield, and a flat in Dun Street, Sheffield, officers recovered a "significant volume" of extremist material, including advice on how to be a "sleeper cell" in the West.

Police also seized 11 mobile phones, 16 USB memory sticks and seven computers.

One memory stick contained a 36-minute video of a senior al Qaida leader calling on young Muslims to join so-called Islamic State (IS) and featured graphic footage of how to kill and kidnap victims.

On a mobile phone, officers found images of the Boston Marathon bombing and a man wearing an orange jumpsuit about to be executed.

Image caption,
Anti-terror police carried out a raid at the family home in Huddersfield

Awan had claimed he had bought the ball bearings and a catapult to use for hunting.

Det Supt Simon Atkinson, head of investigations at Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: "Whilst we do not know the full details of Awan's intentions, officers intervened swiftly before Awan could put any plans into practice."

Judge Watson added: "The ideology to which you had so clearly wedded yourself is, to all right-thinking, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive Muslims living in harmony in this country, utterly abhorrent.

"Your romanticised notions of a jihadi struggle involving violence and destruction are far removed from the Islamic faith.

"You are, in my view, someone who is even now in the grip of idealistic extremism."

Image source, Other
Image caption,
Rizwan Awan detonated a bomb in Iraq in 2016 killing himself and dozens of people

During his trial, jurors heard Awan's brother Rizwan had travelled from Manchester to Istanbul on 17 May, 2015 where he appeared to have joined IS.

The court heard that the brothers remained in contact until Rizwan launched an attack on an Iraqi military convoy.

Awan said he will appeal against his conviction and sentence.

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