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‘Isis member’ in UK charged with trying to help free jihadis from Syrian prisons

The Independent logo The Independent 29/10/2020 Lizzie Dearden
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A man has been charged with being a member of Isis in one of the first cases of its kind in the UK.

Hisham Chaudhary, from Leicester, is accused of sending money abroad to help imprisoned jihadists escape from prisons in northern Syria.

The 27-year-old was allegedly a member of Isis since January 2016 and carried out fundraising and propaganda work for its benefit.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with membership of a proscribed organisation, two counts of entering a terrorist funding arrangement and four counts of disseminating terrorist publications.

Mr Chaudhary, who appeared via video link, was not asked to enter a plea to the charges and was remanded in custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey next Friday.

Prosecutors say he was an accepted member of Isis, which was banned under UK law in 2014, who acted as part of a wide network to support the organisation.

As part of his alleged role, he is said to have gathered funds and transferred money abroad using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to allow captured Isis militants to escape Kurdish-controlled prison camps in northern Syria.

Mr Chaudhary is also accused of compiling and disseminating a terrorist publication through Twitter and the encrypted messaging appTelegram.

He was arrested after an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Counter Terrorism Policing East Midlands and Leicestershire Police.

A 29-year-old woman, from Leicester, who was also arrested in connection with the probe, has since been released without charge.

Additional reporting by PA

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