A terrorist sympathiser used aid convoys to Syria to send thousands of pounds to his extremist nephew fighting alongside Al Qaeda in a bid to set up a team of ‘night snipers’ in Syria. Former probation officer Syed Hoque, 37, sent £4,500 in 2013 to his relative who was fighting with Islamic extremists against the regime in the war-torn country.
One of the targeted aid missions included Alan Henning, the Greater Manchester taxi driver who was later kidnapped and murdered by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
Syed Hoque was found guilty of two charges of funding terrorism while his “fixer” Mashoud Miah was convicted on one count by a majority following a trial at the Old Bailey.
The court had heard how former probation officer Hoque sent £4,500 to his nephew who was fighting with an al Qaida-linked group in Syria. In incriminating WhatsApp exchanges, Hoque’s nephew, Mohammed Choudhury, 26, begged for money to buy a Dragunov sniper rifle.
Hoque, 37, of Stoke-on-Trent, Miah, 28, of east London, Mr Hussain, 30, of east London, and Mr Rafiq, 46, of Birkby, Huddersfield, denied the charges against them. Giving evidence, Hoque admitted sending money to his nephew via Miah because he was fighting ‘in defence of those who cannot defend themselves’. But he denied knowing his nephew was with an al Qaida-linked group. Hoque had claimed he believed his nephew was in Syria for humanitarian reasons.
The court heard Hoque was aware his nephew was fighting with the terrorist group and had attended training missions in relation to improvised explosive devices, the firing of arms and that he had handled military grade weaponry. Prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC said there was no suggestion the aid convoys did not have a legitimate charitable role, but could have provided a useful conduit.
Hoque and Miah are due to be sentenced after Christmas.