A COVENTRY man intent on martyring himself while fighting for Islamic State in Syria has been jailed for six years.
Zakariya Ashiq, from Foleshill, was found guilty of preparing for terrorist acts and assisting others to prepare for terrorism, in a week-long trial at the Old Bailey.
The unemployed 20-year-old was today (May 27) sentenced to six years behind bars.
The judge, Charles Wild QC, told the unemployed 20 year old he knew perfectly well what Islamic State − the group he aspired to join − were doing and had become a “fanatic” who wanted to martyr himself.
Ashiq failed in his attempt to join Islamic State last November and was arrested by officers from the West midlands Counter Terrorism Unit when he returned to the UK.
The court heard that he had made other attempts to enter Syria and may have been successful in May 2014.
Ashiq was arrested after failing in numerous attempts to enter Syria to join two friends believed to be engaged in the conflict fighting for Islamic State – Coventrians Ali Kalantar, Mohammed Ismail and their friend Rashid Amani.
Kalantar and Amani have since been reported killed in the fighting.
Evidence found on Ashiq’s phone included numerous WhatsApp recordings sent to his friends describing the intense efforts he was making to join them and asking for their help in getting him across the border.
Ashiq had deleted the messages but forensic investigators recovered them.
The jury was played these recordings. In one the defendant was heard to say: “The second I get a chance I am doing Martyrdom,” and, “there is no life without Jihad.”
The judge told Ashiq he will also have an extend period of an extra four years on licence after his release – meaning he will go straight back to prison if he commits any further offences.
Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Southern, head of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit said: “This sentence sends a strong message to any young man planning of becoming a foreign fighter.
“We continue to urge families to come forward and work with us to stop young people before they commit offences which we then have to investigate and bring before the courts.
“We must all work together to counter the poisonous narrative that takes hold of these young people − whether it is coming from the Internet or from friendship groups.”