A former University of London student who wanted the black flag of Islamic State flown over Downing Street was jailed for three and a half years at the Old Bailey today.
David Souaan, 20, was originally found guilty of preparing to carry out terrorist attacks at the same court last December after a two and a half week trial in which it took the jury just nine hours to reach their verdict.
After reportedly visiting Syria in December 2013, he was arrested at Heathrow Airport on May 31 2014 on his way to Serbia where it was ruled he was planning to travel on to Syria to fight the jihadist cause.
In passing his sentence, Judge Peter Rook QC noted that the prosecution in the case were unable to determine which terrorist group Souaan intended to join or indeed if he would have managed to travel to Syria.
He also highlighted the lack of an ‘aggravating factor’ that Souaan was planning to fight against British troops.
“There is a wide range of sentences for terrorism offences,” said Judge Rook.
“Everyone must accept that all terrorism offences are grave.
“This case falls towards the bottom of the range for this type of offence.”
Souaan’s laptop and phone were seized upon his arrest and the pictures, videos and documents they contained appear to have shown his ‘extremist sympathies’ and evidence of his intention to go to Syria.
In his defence, Souaan claimed that pictures of him posing with guns were only trophies which were to make him ‘look cool’.
Souaan also claimed that the December 2013 visit was to accompany his father to his hometown of Deir ez-Zor to collect his grandfather’s belongings.
However it was his fellow Birkbeck College students’ concern about his radical Islamist views which led to his arrest, and he was also allegedly filmed attending a demonstration by radical preacher Anjem Choudary in the UK.
In the video Souaan could allegedly be heard saying: “The flag of Tawheed in London, all praise be to Allah the lord of the universe.”
Picture courtesy of ohi007, with thanks