Sunderland shopkeeper jailed over IS terror posts

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Mohammed Zahir KhanImage source, Counter-Terrorism Policing North East
Image caption,
Mohammed Zahir Khan claimed he "never supported" the terror organisation

A shopkeeper who tweeted support for Islamic State (IS) and called for "death to Shias" has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Mohammed Zahir Khan, of Nora Street, Sunderland, had admitted encouraging terrorism, dissemination of a terror publication and stirring up religious hatred.

The 40-year-old pleaded guilty on the basis he was reckless.

However, a Newcastle Crown Court judge said his denial "lacked credibility".

Khan, who is originally from Birmingham, shared messages on social media in which he said Shia Muslims should be burnt alive.

In March last year he posted on Facebook a statement about martyrs and an image of the flag associated with IS.

He also reposted a tweet which included an IS call to attack US bases in Bahrain.

Following his arrest at his convenience store, police found pro-IS videos on his computer.

Giving evidence, he said he "may have come across inadvertently supporting them".

Judge Paul Sloan dismissed Khan's defence, saying his posts represented "deep-seated and calculated thinking".

In a statement released after the sentencing, Det Supt Simon Atkinson, head of investigations at Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: "Khan openly disseminated material over the internet that promoted terrorism and hatred of others."

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