Page last updated at 19:05 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 20:05 UK

Student sentenced over terror bid

Mohammed Abushamma
The court heard Mohammed Abushamma was badly prepared

A student who tried to travel to Afghanistan to fight jihad has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Mohammed Abushamma, 20, from Islington, north London, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in April last year, along with co-defendant Qasim Abukar.

Abukar, from Tufnell Park, north London, went missing halfway through his court case. He was found not guilty in his absence at Croydon Crown Court.

Abushamma pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism.

Mr Justice Bean said: "You were setting out to overthrow the Afghan government by force, fighting against that government and the coalition forces in order to advance the ideological cause of militant Islamism."

The court heard that Abushamma carried out detailed online research into jihad and indicated he would be involved in violence "with a Koran in one hand and an AK47 in the other."

'Haphazard and foolhardy'

Imran Khan, defence for Abushamma, admitted it was a grave and serious offence.

He said Abushamma had been a promising student and came from an illustrious family - his great-grandfather was the first president of Sudan.

But he was a young man who became radicalised through a combination of rebelliousness against his father and access to extremist material on the internet, jurors heard.

Mr Khan said he had made an amateur attempt to reach Afghanistan and used a haphazard and foolhardy approach - the clothes the pair wore were for summer trekking and would not have withstood the cold.

He said that since returning to the UK, Abushamma had helped prevent other young Muslims become radicalised in the same way.

Abushamma must serve half his sentence before he can be released on licence.



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