Anjem Choudary seeks permission to appeal Islamic State support conviction


Extremist preacher Anjem Choudary has applied for permission to appeal his conviction for drumming up support for terror group Islamic State (IS). 

The 49-year-old was jailed for five-and-a-half-years earlier this month after encouraging backing for the terrorist group in a series of talks posted on YouTube and recognising a caliphate - a symbolic Islamic state - had been created under an IS leader in June 2014. 

He finally fell foul of the law after spending two decades as a thorn in the side of UK authorities, with a string of former supporters going on to be convicted of terrorism. 

On Wednesday, the Judicial Office confirmed Choudary had applied for permission to appeal his conviction. 

The married father of five was convicted of the little-used offence of inviting support for a proscribed organisation after spending years with impunity as a leading figure in the banned terrorist group al-Muhajiroun.

Former supporters were involved in the most serious forms of terrorism, including the murderers of soldier Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, and suspected IS executioner Siddhartha Dhar.

But Choudary, who courted media attention, seemed untouchable, sparking rumours that he was being used as an MI5 honeypot - an idea swiftly dismissed by police.

Over 20 years he voiced controversial views on Sharia law, while building up a following of thousands through social media, demonstrations and lectures around the world.

Investigators were eventually able to pin him down when he pledged an oath of allegiance to IS that was posted online.

Choudary's application for permission to appeal was lodged in early September and is currently being processed before it will be heard by a single judge.