Youngest woman convicted of plotting UK terror attack has minimum jail term cut
The youngest woman to be jailed for plotting a terror attack on British soil has had her minimum term cut by senior judges to reflect her “youth and indoctrination”.
Safaa Boular, 19, planned an attack with grenades and guns on the British Museum in London after her attempt to become an Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber in Syria was thwarted.
Along with her mother and older sister she was a member of the UK’s first all-woman terror cell.
She was jailed for life with a minimum term of 13 years at the Old Bailey in August last year after being found guilty of two counts of preparing terrorist acts.
But her tariff was reduced to 11 years at the Court of Appeal in London on Tuesday.
Lord Justice Holroyde, sitting with two other judges, said the original term was too long in light of her youth and the fact she had been subjected to indoctrination from the age of 12.
He said: “We are of the view, with respect to the learned (sentencing) judge, that he did not give sufficient weight to the particularly potent effect of the two factors of youth and grooming, or indoctrination, taken in combination.
“Whilst we have hesitated to differ from the judge below, we do conclude that insufficient weight was given to the fact that the appellant set herself on a course to this grave offending when she was only 15 years old and had, from the age of 12, been subjected to radicalisation by the malign influence of her mother and her mother’s friends.”
The court heard that Boular was groomed by 32-year-old IS fighter Naweed Hussain, originally from Coventry, who she purportedly married in an online ceremony.
She and Hussain planned to carry out a suicide bomb attack in Syria but she was prevented from joining him after having her passport seized.
Instead of committing a terror attack in Syria, she discussed a grenade and gun attack on the British Museum – which she continued plotting after Hussain was killed in a drone strike in April 2017.
She was arrested after the plans were uncovered by MI5 role-players and the Boular family home in Vauxhall, south London, was bugged.
While in prison on remand she discussed further plans for a terror attack with her sister Rizlaine Boular, 23, using coded language by pretending to talk about preparations for an innocent Mad Hatter’s tea party.
Rizlaine then set about arming herself with knives and scouting out targets around the Palace of Westminster, all the while being aided by her mother Mina Dich, 45.
The older sister shared her plans with a friend and even practised the knife attack.
After her arrest on April 27 last year, the day she planned to carry out the attack, Rizlaine admitted preparing acts of terrorism and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years.
The Court of Appeal rejected her bid to challenge her sentence.
Dich was jailed for six years and nine months, with an additional five years on licence, for helping Rizlaine.