Indian Origin Man Hanzalah Patel Found Guilty of Trying to Join ISISApril 03, 2019 12:20
(Image source from: en.zamanalwsl.net)
An Indian origin man in the United Kingdom has found guilty to terrorist offenses on Monday. He was arrested in June 2017 on his way to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Hanzalah Patel, from Leicester, had denied the charges but at the end of a trial at Birmingham Crown Court was found guilty by a jury.
The 22-year-old said he wanted to go to Syria to "big myself up" and brag on returning, after talking to local people and taking some pictures.
The West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism officers along with accomplice Safwaan Mansur, arrested Patel on July 1, 2017, as they arrived back at Heathrow Airport from Istanbul, where the Turkish authorities had carried out the arrest as part of the investigation.
According to local court reports, the jury was told that Patel had told his family that he was due to be leading prayers at a mosque in Germany but when the family contacted the mosque they were told that no-one from the UK had led prayers that month and alarm bells began to ring.
Patel's father contacted the local police force in June 2017 after becoming concerned about his son's whereabouts.
It later emerged that Patel had bought camping equipment, outdoor survival equipment, and clothing and airline tickets before traveling initially to Germany and then onto Istanbul before contacting others to arrange a crossing into Syria.
In an attempt to evade surveillance using a mix of public transport and air travel, he and Mansur had broken down their journey by even booking a return flight with no purpose of using it, according to the jury.
Patel, along with Mansur who he had known since being at school together in Leicester, embarked on a similar trip in 2016 but returned after reaching Hatay on the Syrian border.
They were forced to come back home after a contact failed to respond to calls, only to plan their return to Syria the next year.
The court heard that in May 2017, Mansur was in interaction with a user Telegram, an encrypted instant messaging site, who was, in fact, working for the U.S. government to talk about crossing the border into ISIS-held territory.
When the two men arrived in Istanbul, the contact told them he would send someone to help but as soon as they revealed their whereabouts they were arrested.
The duo was found guilty of the commission, preparation, and instigation of acts of terrorism between May and June 2017 and will be sentenced on April 25.
By Sowmya Sangam