ISIS Bride’s Brother Convicted of Funding Her in Syria
The “naive” brother of a 16-year-old jihadi bride has been found guilty of funding Islamic State in Syria.
Salim Wakil, 25, from Fleet, Hampshire, arranged the transfer of 3,000 dollars via Western Union for his sister Sumaiyyah in February last year, the Old Bailey heard.
Prosecutor Brett Weaver said: “The arrangement was made despite repeated warning from the police that any such transfer of funds to Syria could lead to him committing a criminal offence.”
He used a friend’s name in the transaction in a “deliberate attempt by the defendant to conceal his actions, demonstrating he knew perfectly well what he was doing was wrong”, the prosecutor said.
The defendant claimed he only sent the funds to help his younger sibling to return to family in Britain, even though she had married and given birth to a daughter in Raqqa, the court was told.
Wakil had lived with his parents and nine younger siblings at the family home in Fleet, including Sumaiyyah, who is now 21, the court heard.
In August 2014, aged just 16, Sumaiyyah left home and travelled to Syria, leaving behind a letter explaining her reasons for joining IS and asking her family not to tell police.
Police did not find out until the following year and the Prevent deradicalisation programme was called in.
An investigation revealed the teenager had maintained contact with her family via Skype calls and WhatsApp as well as other text communications.
During the chats, Sumaiyyah described wanting to become a martyr and talked of her husband and pregnancy, jurors heard.
While in Syria, she had married 19-year-old Abu Dujana – real name Mehdi Hassan – from Portsmouth who was killed fighting in the autumn of 2014. But Wakil repeatedly encouraged his sister to come back to Britain.
When she asked to see photographs of her younger siblings, Wakil replied: “U come see them thanks.” Wakil denied entering into a funding arrangement but was found guilty by the Old Bailey jury.
Judge Rebecca Poulet QC said she had “no doubt this defendant was naive” and was not supportive of IS himself. She said he “foolishly and wrongly” took the risk of sending money because he was “genuinely feeling concerned for the safety of his sister”.
The judge asked for a pre-sentence report and adjourned sentencing until February 8. She told the defendant: “You are now convicted of this offence on very clear evidence.
“You must understand that in putting this matter back for a pre-sentence report to find out more about you and your present situation that is in no sense a promise or suggestion that you will not immediately go back to prison.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said: “Salim Wakil was manipulated by his sister into sending money to her, which could very easily be used for terrorism purposes.
“The law intends to cut off funding to terrorist groups and to stop money falling into the hands of people who may use it for terrorist purposes.
“By making the decision to send money and ignoring the advice of the police, Salim Wakil broke the law.
“The law applies equally to everyone, regardless of their motives, and is here to stop the funding of terrorist organisations and individuals.
“No-one has the permission to take the law into their own hands, no matter how emotional the reasoning is for doing so.”