An extremist who opted to listen to “notorious terrorist loudmouths” and downloaded instructions on how to carry out attacks has been jailed for 32 months for a series of Islamist-related terror offences.
Zakaria Yanaouri, 21, of Worthing, West Sussex, had pleaded guilty to five counts of possessing material likely to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act.
Judge Philip Katz QC, sentencing at the Old Bailey, rejected Yanaouri’s claim that he only watched the “disgusting” materials such as images of Isis beheadings “out of curiosity”.
There was nothing to suggest that his views were based on ignorance or that he had a “genuine change of heart” from his views, the judge said.
Yanaouri was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment on each count, to be served concurrently.
The judge said Yanaouri, who was of previous good character, had opted to listen to “notorious terrorist loudmouths” instead of genuine clerics, and was “brainwashed by their propaganda”.
He noted that Yanaouri had deleted some apps from his phone in case it gave away his location, and some of his social media accounts had been barred for extremism.
He knew that what he was doing was illegal, the judge said.
Yanaouri came to the attention of the authorities during a port stop in January this year, as he and his family returned from holiday in Saudi Arabia.
Yanaouri was arrested on February 24 and counter terrorism officers carried out a dawn raid at his family home.
His Samsung Galaxy mobile phone was found under a pillow in the bedroom and a desktop computer in the living room of his family home was seized.
Issues of Rumiyah, the digital Isis propaganda magazine, were found on the computer and each had a section labelled “Just Terror Tactics”.
Information on how to commit knife attacks appeared in both print and cartoon format.
Instructional information regarding attacks on vehicles, how to commit an arson attack and a discussion on hostage taking were among the topics of articles in the magazine.
Prosecutor Robin Sellers said the seized material helped to show the defendant has “a mindset that is sympathetic to and supportive of the teachings and propaganda of Isis”.
He told the court: “The material included moving images of beheadings and scenes of execution of Isis captives commonly encountered by the viewers.”
In police interview Yanaouri said he thought he had been arrested because he was listening to lectures about Sharia law and Jihad on his phone or on the computer.
He said he downloaded the lectures from sites that promoted so-called Islamic State and included speeches by extremists Anjem Choudary and Abu Izzadeen.
Yanaouri told police that he downloaded footage of beheadings and other atrocities to watch them out of “curiosity”.
He said he wanted there to be a war in Iraq and conflict, Mr Sellers told the court.
He put up posters at a mosque around the time of the general election, urging people not to vote.
In response to questions about his watching fighting or people being killed for engaging in the war against Islamic State, Yanaouri simply told the officers: “Why didn’t they just accept Sharia law?”.
In police interview Yanaouri also said he would like to live under Sharia law and agreed with the teachings. He agreed that people should fight to advance that cause.
Yanaouri told officers he was not involved in planning acts of terrorism and he would not involve himself in the IS acts in the UK.
He recorded messages about martyrdom and protection of the faith, the court heard.
The prosecution suggested Yanaouri was on the cusp of “moving” from the possession of material that indicates a radicalised mindset to physical activities.