Two men guilty of trying to join Daesh

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BIRMINGHAM: Two men have been found guilty of preparing to travel to Syria to commit terrorist acts in support of Daesh. Safwaan Mansur, aged 22 of Hampton Road, Aston, and Hanzalah Patel, also aged 22 of Frederick Road, Leicester, were convicted by the jury after just 40 minutes deliberation at Birmingham Crown Court for being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism between 31 May 2017 and 24 June 2017.

Patel’s father contacted the local police force in June 2017 after becoming concerned about his son’s whereabouts. Patel had told his family that he was due to be leading prayers at a mosque in Germany but when the family contacted the mosque they were told that no-one from the UK had led prayers that month and alarm bells began to ring.

As concern mounted, police searched their family homes and began piecing together their intention to travel to Syria and join Daesh. They had bought camping equipment, outdoor survival equipment and clothing and airline tickets before travelling initially to Germany and then onto Istanbul before contacting others to arrange a crossing into Syria.

They had broken down their journey in an attempt to evade surveillance using a mix of air travel and public transport, they had even booked a return flight with no intention of using it.

The pair were detained by Turkish authorities and returned to the UK. They were arrested on 1 July 2017 by West Midlands Counter Terrorism officers when they arrived at Heathrow.

On arrest, they were interviewed by police. Patel maintained a ‘no comment’ stance but Mansur claimed the pair had planned to go to Turkey for a holiday and were due to stop in Germany on the way or way back to give out gifts – he told police that the people at the mosque like outdoor pursuits such as camping.