Harborough district man jailed for funding Islamic State

He also created videos to spread the ideology of Islamic State and to call others to arms

Monday, 6th September 2021, 1:39 pm

A Harborough district man branded a “terrorist” by police chiefs after he helped fund the Islamic State terror group using Bitcoin has been jailed for 12 years.

Hisham Chaudhary, 28, of Great Glen, was jailed after he was found guilty of converting tens of thousands of pounds into the cryptocurrency to support the terrorist network.

Chaudhary, of Chestnut Drive, was convicted of seven serious terror offences at Birmingham Crown Court.

Hisham Chaudhary

Judge Paul Farrer, QC, said the criminal, suspected to have been a member of Islamic State since 2016, was “a committed extremist”.

Chaudhary was jailed for 12 years with an additional five-year extension on licence after a Probation Service report warned that “he posed a high risk of harm to the public”.

He was arrested by a specialist counter-terrorism police unit at his home in Great Glen on November 12 last year after the MI5 domestic intelligence service and detectives launched an in-depth investigation.

Detectives dug out a huge catalogue of evidence to show that Chaudhary was a “trusted and active member of the banned terrorist group”.

“One that not only subscribed to their ideology, but also immersed himself in supporting their activities and creating and spreading propaganda on their behalf.

“Operating largely online, the defendant was able to serve the objectives of the organisation from the UK, by promoting violent jihad, providing safe communication networks for like-minded individuals and sourcing money to assist other members,” said police after the case.

“Chaudhary created videos to spread the ideology of Daesh (Islamic State) and to call others to arms.

“He did so using platforms popular with the group and went to great lengths to ensure they reached the right audience.

“He even sought assistance to protect the legacy of his videos, to prevent them from being deleted or taken down.

“Financial investigators also revealed that Chaudhary had deliberately developed his understanding and use of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

“He frequently used the technology to receive and transfer thousands of pounds, paying smugglers to liberate Daesh supporters from detention camps in Syria.”

Det Ch Supt Martin Snowden, the head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said after Chaudhary was imprisoned: “From the comfort of his home in the UK, Hisham Chaudhary took an active role in promoting, supporting and funding terrorism.

“It is evident he was a valued member of Daesh, one who had consistently demonstrated his allegiance through his actions.

“Proscribed organisations present a very real risk to our security, to the safety of communities both in the UK and overseas.

“Anyone demonstrating support for such a group, in any form, will be prosecuted without exception.”

He added: “Despite the weight of the evidence against him, Hisham Chaudhary has tried to present himself as a humanitarian.

“He is, in fact, a terrorist and has been recognised as such by the jury.”

Chaudhary was convicted of seven offences under the Terrorism Act:

Four counts of Disseminating Terrorist Publications, contrary to Section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006

One count of Membership of a Proscribed Organisation, contrary to Section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000

Two counts of Entering a Funding Arrangement, contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000.