Radical Ilford preacher Anjem Choudary jailed for five and a half years for raising support for ISIS

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary - Credit: Archant

Ilford hate preacher Anjem Choudary has been jailed for five years and six months at the Old Bailey today for drumming up support for Islamic State (ISIS).

The British-born 49-year-old, of Hampton Road, backed the terrorist group in a series of talks posted on YouTube, the court heard, and was supported by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the murderers of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

Choudary and his co-defendant Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 33, from Whitechapel, east London, who was also jailed for five and a half years, were found guilty of inviting support for ISIS between June 29, 2014 and March 6, 2015.

As Mr Justice Holroyde sentenced Choudary, his supporters in the Old Bailey public gallery shouted “Allahu Akbar”.

The judge said the offences were serious given their influence over impressionable people at a crucial time when Muslims were looking for guidance on ISIS.

He told Choudary: “You did nothing to condemn any aspect of what Isis was doing at the time.

“In that way you indirectly encouraged violent terrorist activity.”

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He described Rahman as a “hothead” while Choudary was more “calculating” and the more experienced.

Both men were dangerous and had shown no remorse, he added.

“You are both mature men and intelligent men who knew throughout exactly what you were doing. You are both fluent and persuasive speakers.”

Earlier former solicitor refused to stand up in the dock as his sentencing hearing began.

In mitigation, his lawyer Mark Summers QC said: “These two years have given Mr Choudary time to reflect on what this case is about.

“I hope my lord will accept that the evidence in this case shows over the course of 20 years Mr Choudary has done his best to stay within the law, acting on the boundaries of it but staying within the law.

“In the commission of these offences Mr Choudary believed he was still within the law but he has had time to reflect and on reflection would have done things differently had he known the boundaries of the law.

“He is determined not to cross those boundaries in the future.”

The father-of-five, who is carer for his elderly mother, has lived off benefits and never accepted payments for his speeches, Mr Summers said.

The lawyer also expressed concern for Choudary’s mental welfare in solitary confinement in jail and asked the judge to take that into account when deciding how long he must serve.

Mr Summers argued that there was no evidence that anyone had acted on Choudary’s speeches with “murderous violence” in the limited time he had broken the law.