Teenager jailed after trying to join Islamic State in Syria


A radicalised teenager who tried to go to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Cubeyda Jama, 19, was arrested on board a plane at Stansted Airport en route to Bucharest, in Romania, on February 5.

He used his student loan to buy equipment for the trip, including a laptop and maps of Turkey, and booked a one-way flight for February 5 this year.

But Jama, of London Road, Thornton Heath, south London, was detained by officers on the plane and his rucksack was searched.

The London-based Finnish student admitted a charge of preparing acts of terrorism by making travel arrangements and gathering equipment to travel to Syria or Iraq.

Jama, who appeared at the Old Bailey wearing black-rimmed glasses, a blue jumper over a red checked shirt and black jeans, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in a young offenders institution and given an additional one-year licence period.

In sentencing him, Judge Gerald Gordon said: "It's clear to me that you were dangerous at the time - there are some indications that you may be learning error of your ways but it's too early to say that you are at present no longer dangerous."

The court heard the Middlesex University student had planned to travel overland to cross the Syrian border into territory held by IS, also known as Daesh and Isis.

He bought a one-way ticket to Bucharest for February 4 but tried to cancel it before travelling to Stansted and booking another £147.99 flight at the Ryanair desk the following day.

Analysis of the laptop and other electronic devices discovered in his rucksack found he had "beheading videos" and had searched Google for "how to reach the Syrian border" and "paths to Isis".

The judge added: "You realised fully that once you had or if you did achieve your aim of joining Daesh you would have had no option but to do what was required of you.

"I accept that you were not travelling with any developed, specific terrorist purpose in mind such as fighting."

Judge Gordon said the likelihood that Jama would have reached Syria was "low".

The computer science student had "memorised" the Koran while living in Somalia, the court heard.

He moved to the UK in 2010 to live with his father, having also lived in Finland, and had to learn English "from scratch", which the judge said meant he had lived an "isolated" life.

Judge Gordon said: "You were described by the psychologist as naive and I think that's right.

"You were in my view at obvious risk of radicalisation, be it self radicalisation, radicalisation through others or a combination of the two and that's exactly what happened."

Hossein Zahir, defending, said Jama had been "subject to grooming" by extremists on internet forums and an assessment by a psychologist had found Jama was "immature for his age and of low to average intelligence".

He said: "The radicalisation was rapid and as a result of actions of the police and incarceration in HMP Lewes, it resulted in him recognising that he was wrong and recognising that he made a mistake.

"It is significant ... that he has not been involved in grooming and encouraging others and immersing in terrorist literature. He's been the victim and target of them himself."

Mr Zahir added that Jama was ill-prepared to make it from Bucharest to Isis-controlled territory as he was carrying little money and had no local contact to help him get there.

"He has a list of tasks he considers - one of them includes bomb-maker and one of them was working in a hospital.

"He considers within Islamic State there may be a variety of roles. He had not travelled with the settled intention of causing harm to others. He had travelled with the settled intention of joining Isis."