The wife of a convicted terrorist has received a 12 month suspended sentence at the Old Bailey for failing to provide information that might have helped in his arrest and prosecution.
Ayan Hadi, 31, of Acton, west London, had already admitted failing to alert the authorities when her husband Richard Dart, a white Muslim convert, had planned to fly to Pakistan for combat training which could then be followed by violent acts of terrorism.
She had pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to failing to provide information that she knew or believed might have helped secure the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of her husband for an act of terrorism.
In sentencing Mr Justice Sweeney, sitting at the Old Bailey, told Hadi that ‘justice could be tempered by mercy’ particularly in cases involving someone who is vulnerable or in a relationship with a defendant.
Hadi had been in an abusive first marriage, felt isolated and wanted a happy home life, the court was told.
She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years, a two year supervision order plus a 10 year notification requirement where she will have to tell the authorities of her whereabouts.
Dart was jailed for six years in April with two co-conspirators Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood for engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism.
The judge told Hadi that there had been ‘an element of choice’ in her decision not to alert the authorities after Dart revealed his intentions to her in November 2011.
He also noted that having a first husband who was ‘clearly abusive’ towards her had ‘coloured in part your relationship to the information’ which Dart told her.
Dart also put her ‘in a difficult position’ by making her ‘choose between your love for him’ and balancing out her duty to tell the authorities.
The judge noted that Hadi was of good character and that neither she nor any member of her family had shown any Jihadist sympathies.
Hadi and Dart met on the internet in August 2011, they married a month later and she claimed she had no idea he was an extremist until she later saw a BBC documentary by his step-brother Robb Leech – called My Brother The Islamist.
The judge said: ‘You have demonstrated remorse for your behaviour. This experience has made you aware of your responsibilities which you should have been aware of in the first place.’
Imran Mahmood received nine years and nine months, and Jahangir Alom was jailed for four years and six months.
At the time they were sentenced, the judge said they were all ‘committed fundamentalists’ who would have been prepared to kill.
Dart and Alom travelled to Pakistan to try to get terrorist training, and took advice from Mahmood who had already visited the country, the court heard.
Former BBC security guard Dart also discussed bomb making with Mahmood, and spoke of targeting the Wiltshire town of Royal Wootton Bassett – which became a focal point for the repatriation of UK soldiers from Afghanistan.
Dart, who changed his name to Salahuddin al-Britani, became involved in extremism after moving from his home town of Weymouth, Dorset, to east London and fraternising with radical Muslim Anjem Choudary.
Emails between Hadi and Dart showed that she ‘endorsed his security conscious approach’ including the need for passwords, the judge said.
He noted it was ‘equally clear that Dart made his terrorist intentions plain’.
Mozammel Hossain, defending, claimed that Hadi was a decent woman now with a young child who had married Dart while ‘not knowing the type of man that he was’.
He described her as a woman who wanted a warm loving home life but she was quite weak willed. She suffers from a post-natal condition.
‘She was desperate to have a family, to be married and have a child,’ Mr Hossain claimed.
Her first husband was an abusive man who kept her locked up in the house, the court was told.
Mr Hossain added she did not ‘condone or support anything that her husband stood for’ and there is ‘no evidence in this case that this lady held any radical or extremist views. It was all about her desire to keep in touch with her husband.’
Dart, a son of teachers, also discussed bomb-making with Mahmood, and military repatriation town Wootton Bassett as a potential target.
Police discovered fragments of text on his laptop that revealed that the pair had used the computer to have a ‘silent conversation’ to avoid possible surveillance bugs – opening a Word document and taking it in turns to type, then deleting the text.
They mistakenly assumed none of it would be stored on the machine but forensic experts who worked through 2,000 pages of computer code deciphered fragments of what was said, including Mahmood making a reference to Wootton Bassett and then adding: ‘If it comes down to it, it’s that or even just to deal with a few MI5 MI6 heads.’
The trio were captured in a huge surveillance operation by Scotland Yard and MI5. Investigators learned friends Dart and Alom teamed up with Mahmood in a bid to train with Al Qaeda in Pakistan, after a previous trip ended in failure.
Mahmood said he had seen a bomb-making manual.
Mr Justice Simon told the trio they held ‘radical Islamist beliefs and have shown yourselves to be committed to acts of terrorism’.
Mahmood and Dart were both given extended sentences, meaning that they will serve two-thirds of their prison terms rather than half, and they will spend five years on licence.
The judge said that they were all ‘committed fundamentalists’ who would have been prepared to kill.
He told Dart and Mahmood: ‘I’m satisfied to the required criminal standard that neither of you had ruled out an attack in the United Kingdom, and that you, Mahmood, were looking at arming yourself with a bomb.’
Counter-terrorism teams also believed that the pair used the same tactic walking down the street with a mobile phone.
Mr Justice Simon said the men held ‘radical Islamic views’, were ‘dangerous’ and could kill.
Choudary, whose groups Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades have been banned, launched an extraordinary defence of Dart, saying he was jailed for a ‘thought crime’ and had ‘committed no sin and harmed nobody’, adding ‘Jihad training’ is a duty for Muslim men.
The cleric appeared with Dart in a BBC film, My Brother The Islamist. In it, Dart said there were ‘many misconceptions about Al Qaeda’ and protested at a homecoming for soldiers.
Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne called the case ‘a classic example of how terrorists live in our midst’.
Dart and Mahmood were both born in the UK, while Alom was born in Bangladesh but is a British citizen.
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