A man from Upper Clapton was jailed on Friday after pleading guilty to travelling to Syria to join al-Qaeda.
Mohammed Yamin, 26, was identified by police officers as one of the British al-Qaeda members interviewed by Vice News for their 2014 news film on the terrorist group. The video footage, which dates back from 2013, shows two masked men with British accents speaking about al-Qaeda’s activities in Syria.
In 2017, three years after his return to the UK, Yamin was questioned by officers after they had been alerted of a man “acting suspiciously” in Whitehall.
While he was not arrested, the encounter was flagged to Counter Terrorism officers, leading them to conduct further enquiries on the man.
Experts used facial and voice analysis, as well as video footage of Yamin in Whitehall, to confirm he was indeed one of the British interviewees from the Vice news film.
Enough evidence had been gathered by January for officers to charge him for Engaging in Preparation of Terrorist Acts and Membership of a Proscribed Organisation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Alexis Boon of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said:
“Anyone who is thinking of returning to the UK having been involved in terrorism abroad can expect to be investigated and as we’ve shown with this case, we will examine all evidence available so that they are held to account for their actions.”
Yamin, who had been studying engineering at City University prior to his departure for Syria, was first arrested at Heathrow Airport upon his return to the UK in May 2014.
The police suspected him of having travelled to Syria to distribute clothes and equipment to people affiliated with terrorists groups, but a lack of evidence quickly led to his release.