First Briton convicted of Syria-related terror
LONDON (AP) — For the first time, a British man has been convicted of terrorism-related offenses after going to Syria with the intention of joining the conflict there.
Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday convicted Mashudur Choudhury of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.
Prosecutors said the 31-year-old went to Syria in October planning to join a terrorism training camp. He was arrested at Gatwick Airport on his return to London later that month.
Officials fear that Britons “in the low hundreds” have traveled to Syria to join the fighting there and may bring terrorism back to Britain when they return.
Choudhury, a married father of two, said during the two-week trial that he went to Syria with four other people from his local area of Portsmouth on the south coast of England to escape from family problems.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan told the jury he went with the intention of becoming a martyr to the cause of radical Islam.
“The training was to include the use of firearms and the purpose of fighting was to pursue a political, religious or ideological cause,” she said.
Text messages between Choudhury and his wife that were introduced into evidence appeared to show tension between the two.
At one point, she wrote: “Go die in battlefield. Go die, I really mean it just go. I’ll be relieved. At last. At last.”
Choudhury will be sentenced on June 13.