NewsCrime World

Men jailed for funding brother’s campaign with ISIS

Mohammed Hussain (left) and Mohamed Rohaman
Mohammed Hussain (left) and Mohamed Rohaman

A pair of dry cleaners who sold their brother's BMW to raise cash for him while he was fighting for Islamic State have been jailed for their "misguided loyalty".

Mohammed Hussain, 26, and Mohamed Rohaman, 33, sent £10,000 to Musadikur Rohaman, a terrorist fighter in the IS stronghold of Raqqa.

Musadikur and his teaching assistant wife Zohura Siddeka, both 27, left for Syria in December 2014.

His two brothers sold his £4,000 BMW car and £1,200 worth of gold jewellery while also trying to raise money through his wife's wedding dress, the court heard.

Their distraught mother was forced to lock up valuables in the family home to try to stop them.

They also arranged for Siddeka's maternity pay to be sent to Syria. She gave birth in September 2014 but the baby died days later. She has since had a second child.

The two brothers, from Walsall, West Midlands, were convicted after a trial at the Old Bailey of terrorism funding offences between November 2014 and June 2015.

Hussain was jailed for four years, Rohaman for two years and nine months and family friend Mohammed Khan, 27, received 18 months in custody for his role.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC told them: "Each of you knew where Musadikur was, what he was doing and the reasons why he needed finance.

"It would be obvious to each of you Musadikur and Zohura Siddeka were in Syria and they were there in support of the so-called Islamic State.

"Their actions cause death and suffering to a large number of people. While the trial was ongoing there were a number of incidents around the world said to be carried out by Islamic State or where Islamic State claimed responsibility."

He told the defendants that funding serves to fuel terrorists' fight and "encourages those who carry out atrocities".

The judge also ordered the forfeiture of £1,500 in cash which was found by police stashed underneath Hussain's mattress.

During the trial, prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said: "At the heart of this case is a Muslim family from Walsall, in the West Midlands.

"The first defendant, Mohammed Hussain, is the youngest of eight siblings. He is responsible for running the family business, a laundrette and dry cleaners in Walsall.

"The second defendant, Mohamed Rohaman is one of his brothers. Between them in age is another brother, Musadikur Rohaman.

"Musadikur had told people that he was going on holiday, but the true purpose for his trip was to go to Syria to join and fight for IS, and that is what he did."

Hussain, a qualified lawyer and aspiring solicitor, had recruited family friend and budding accountant Khan to help raise funds by taking out credit card loans and selling valuables.

The three defendants denied the charges relating to the funding of terrorism and claimed the money was to help Musadikur to come back to the UK.

In mitigation for Hussain, Nigel Lambert QC said: "This is a decent, hard working, very close family now fractured, ruptured and devastated by what happened.

"His (Hussain's) plans of becoming a solicitor have been dashed forever. All plans to marry have been put on hold - all because of what he decided out of misguided loyalty and on instructions from his brother at the time."

He said his brother in Syria had now realised his "mistake" and was making efforts to return home with his wife and new baby.

Richard Thomas, for Khan, highlighted character witnesses including one from his boss at Tesco, which showed him to be a "normal nice guy".

He said: "This is not a man who has involved himself in any generalised support for a terrorist organisation. This arises as a result of a request from a family he had grown up with."

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who leads on counter-terrorism for the West Midlands, said: "Investigations found that Musadikur was fighting in Syria and that both Mohammed Iqbal Hussain and Mohamed Suyaubur Rohaman were aware of what their brother was doing.

"It is believed Musadikur directed his brothers in what he needed doing and sent them names of who to transfer money to."

Mr Beale added: "Disruption of terrorist funding is an important part of our investigations. Sending money to those actively engaged in terrorism helps fund their activities and we will continue to act on any intelligence and disrupt the flow of money to conflict zones."