Man who travelled to Syria to ‘join brothers in martyrdom’ jailed

A London man has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison on terrorism-related charges after returning from Syria.


Mustafa Abdullah, a Muslim convert, was taken into custody last year when he landed at Gatwick airport after travelling to Syria to join his “close brothers” in martyrdom.

Police found gun instructions and guerrilla training videos on his phone and computer. One photo showed him carrying an assault rifle.

Judge Gerald Gordon said the content amounted to “a veritable reference library of material expressing a thorough interest in guns, gun training, violence, fighting, death and radical Islam”.

He said the material had to be seriously considered to be of use to anyone planning a terror attack.

A refrigeration engineer by trade, Abdullah, 34, who lived in Stockwell in London, had become obsessed with Islamist ideology since a previous stint in a young offender institution in 2007.

Prosecutors said Abdullah had left one of his wives, Souriya, around November 2013, intent on martyrdom in the north-west region of Syria where the conflict was intense.

Prompted by the news that some of his “close brothers” had died, Abdullah said he had “set my mind that I want paradise, and paradise is not cheap”, the court heard.

He was already under surveillance because of a similar terror conviction in 2007 and was stopped on his way back into the UK via Sweden in May last year.

Abdullah told police at the airport that he was born in the UK of Christian Jamaican parentage but converted to Islam around 2000 and took several wives under Islamic law.

Sentencing him, the judge told him: “The picture is a depressing one, after being a serious juvenile criminal it seems clear you were radicalised when spending time in a young offender institute for a firearms conviction.

“In your new found life you have a previous conviction under the same act as today’s hearing and you have clearly learned nothing from that.”

Abdullah described himself in court as a “friendly” handyman and claimed MI5 spooks had offered him £10,000 if he fed them information, but after 12 hours of deliberation he was convicted of 13 offences.

He had claimed to have been travelling to Syria for humanitarian reasons.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, one of the most “chilling” articles found on one of his computers was an Arabic lecture containing detailed instructions on how to research and carry out a terrorist attack on a city centre.

The head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command, Richard Walton, said any would-be jihadis who travelled to Syria would be investigated on return and if found to be involved in terrorist activity would face prosecution.