22nd Oct, 2017

Terror trial begins of Coventry man who tried to join Islamic State

Coventry Editorial 18th May, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A Coventry man who tried to join friends fighting for Islamic State in Syria is on trial at the Old Bailey today (Monday).

The jury heard how Zakariya Ashiq, then 19 from Foleshill, had failed in his attempt to get into the war-torn country last November and was arrested at Heathrow airport returning to the UK.

Prosecuting, Sarah Whitehouse QC told the court that the now unemployed 20-year-old had made other attempts to enter Syria to join two friends, Ali Kalantar and Mohammed Ismail, and their friend Rashid Amani – all of whom are from Coventry and were believed to be engaged in the conflict.

Ms Whitehouse stated that Ashiq may have successfully entered Syria in May 2014, however, when questioned by police about his travel plans, the former tyre factory worker said he had no desire to join IS and that his friend Ismail was “an idiot” for signing up.

But, evidence found on Ashiq’s computer included chat room conversations praising Islamic State.

There were also WhatsApp recordings sent to his friends in which he describes the efforts he was making to join them and asks for their help in getting him across the Jordanian/Iraqi border – as he suspected the Turkish authorities would not let him into Syria via their crossing.

He also said: “The second I get a chance I am doing martyrdom.”

Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit arrested Ashiq on November 20, 2014 when he flew home from Jordan to Heathrow having failed in his suspected objectives.

Ashiq denies preparing for acts of terrorism and assisting others to prepare for acts of terrorism.

The trial is expected to last a week.

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