Thursday, February 2, 2017

Briton plotted to join Abu Sayyaf jihadists

From ABS-CBN (Feb 3): Briton plotted to join Abu Sayyaf jihadists

LONDON, United Kingdom - A British supermarket worker was convicted Thursday of preparing to fight with Philippine jihadists Abu Sayyaf.
Ryan Counsell, 28, was found guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism, notably having a bomb-making manual and buying various military-style clothes and equipment.

Counsell had booked to fly on July 13 last year to the southern Philippine port of Zamboanga, the closest city to Basilan island, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Abu Sayyaf is listed as a banned terrorist group in Britain, the jury at Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London heard.

He had bought military equipment to "engage in combat or support an extremist group", the court was told.
Jurors heard how Counsell had spent almost £900 ($1,130; 1,050 euros) on "heavy-duty, military-style boots, combat trousers, camouflage clothing, knee and elbow pads, a monocular scope, rifle magazine pouches and a cheek pad to be attached to the stock of a rifle".

He had a bomb-making manual and documents providing "practical advice for someone wanting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State".

Counsell, from Nottingham in central England, had a copy of the Al-Qaeda terror group's online magazine Inspire, which contained an article titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom".

The material demonstrated that Counsell had a "profound and enduring interest in extremist Islam, jihad and the propaganda of Islamic State and similar groups", a lawyer for the state Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told the court.

Counsell claimed his planned trip to Zamboanga was for charitable relief work in an aid camp.

The married father-of-one said he watched terrorist videos because he wanted to learn more about propaganda.
"Ryan Counsell meticulously planned his attempt to join a terrorist organisation which is responsible for atrocities across the Philippines," Sue Hemming, head of the CPS counter-terror division, said after the verdict.

"He attempted to conceal his plan but prosecutors were able to successfully demonstrate his true intent to the jury."

Counsell will be sentenced on March 3.

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