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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Girlfriend and mother convicted over failure to disclose Islamist terror plans

The mother and girlfriend of two Islamist terrorists have been convicted separately of failing to disclose plans for a terror attack in two different criminal trials.

Girlfriend Tasnia Ahmed, 21, from Tower Hamlets in east London, failed to report her then would-be terrorist boyfriend Al-Arfat Hassan to the police despite knowing he intended to carry out a mass casualty attack using a knife or a bomb.

Earlier this year drill rapper Hassan, 21, who used his music to “glorify” Islamic State killings was convicted after buying chemicals online to construct an improvised explosive device and possession of terrorist material – a video showing how to kill a prisoner with knives and how to make an improvised explosive device. He was jailed in February at the Old Bailey for five years with a further two years on licence.

His co-defendant, a 17-year-old who could not be named at the time due to his age, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after failing to disclose information about Hassan’s acts of terrorism and possessing terrorist material – the same video that Hassan had possessed. This teenager can now be named as Sameer Anjum from Leeds, after reporting restrictions were lifted. Hassan and Anjum had been exchanging extremist messages, graphics and voice notes almost daily over a number of months.

Anjum’s mother, Nabeela Anjum, has now also been convicted of failing to disclose information about Hassan’s activities, which she learned of from her son.

The 48-year-old woman was found guilty today following a trial at Leeds Crown Court where she had denied all knowledge of the activities. However, a jury was shown detailed messages where the woman pleaded with her son to stop communicating with Hassan. In one message following Hassan’s arrest, she told her teenage son: “Please get rid of everything from your phone…”

Ahmed was found guilty following a separate trial at Woolwich Crown Court which concluded on Thursday, 25 April. She will be sentenced at the same court on 3 June.

Evidence presented during Ahmed’s trial showed that she had been in a relationship with Hassan since October 2021, and exchanged more than 85,000 text messages over some three months.

In some of these messages Hassan revealed his desire to carry out a terrorist attack, writing: “I have to get it done, I know the perfect spot where millions, millions of people are…”

Ahmed told him that he would “die for a good cause,” adding “I’ll support you if that’s what you really want”. She also wrote she would buy him a better knife.

Mobile phone evidence uncovered that Ahmed and her cousins referred to Hassan as “bomb man” and a “terrorist” in their exchanges, making it clear that she had been aware of her partner’s terrorist activities.

But despite being aware of Hassan’s intentions and plans since at least November 2021, Ahmed failed to report this to the police as would be required by law.

Hassan’s phones were seized at Heathrow airport in February 2022, and during an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service, he was arrested in March 2022. This led to the discovery of Ahmed’s failure to report information about acts of terror. She was interviewed in June 2022 and charges against her were authorised by the CPS Counter Terrorism Division the following month.

Ahmed and Anjum were not known to each other.

Nick Price, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “These two women jeopardised the safety of the public by blindly choosing not to report acts of terror openly being discussed and planned by those known to them – that is criminal behaviour and illegal. When presented with the evidence in court, the juries in both cases found that these women had acted unlawfully and convicted them.

“Tasnia Ahmed in particular knew of Hassan’s extremist beliefs. He had repeatedly told her of his intention to carry out a knife or bomb attack – she indulged this and spoke about it as if it was normal behaviour. Nabeela Anjum sought to protect her son, but in trying to do so, she found herself armed with knowledge about terror activities that she knew needed to be reported.

“The fact that these women have been brought to justice should act as a deterrent to anyone with knowledge of terrorist activities. The CPS will not hesitate to work with the police to bring prosecutions against those who break the law in this way.”

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