By David Pallister
July 6, 2007
Three men, including the top computer expert for al-Qaida in Iraq, were
sent to prison yesterday for spreading extremist jihadi material through
their websites. It was the first UK prosecution for inciting terrorist
murder on the internet.
At Woolwich crown court the ringleader, Moroccan-born Younis Tsouli, 23,
from Shepherd's Bush, west London, was given 10 years. Using the
nickname Irhabi007 - Arabic for terrorist and the code name of James
Bond - he facilitated the distribution of messages from the al-Qaida
leadership and videos of beheadings and military attacks by Abu Musab
al- Zarqawi's group in Iraq.
Tariq Al-Daour, 21, a British citizen born in the United Arab Emirates,
was jailed for six-and-a-half years. Waseem Mughal, a Leicester
University biochemistry graduate, who was born in the UK, was given
Earlier this week all three pleaded guilty to inciting another person to
commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the UK which would,
if committed in England and Wales, constitute murder. They also admitted
conspiring together and with others to defraud banks, credit card
companies and charge card firms.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Openshaw said the men engaged in "cyber
jihad", with direct incitements to kill non-Muslims. But he said none of
them had come anywhere close to carrying out acts of violence
themselves. Referring to Tsouli, he said: "He came no closer to a bomb
or a firearm than a computer keyboard." The judge said Tsouli should be
deported to Morocco after serving his time.
Investigators and vigilantes who monitor jihadi internet traffic dubbed
Irhabi007 the "godfather of cyber-terrorism for al-Qaida" in Iraq while
he was active from early 2004 until his arrest in October 2005.
In May 2004 he helped to distribute a video of the beheading by Zarqawi
of an American contractor in Iraq, Nicholas Berg. It was downloaded half
a million times in the first 24 hours. By hacking into unprotected web
servers he was able to use a mechanism known as file transfer protocol
to post large files and videos, including videos made by an al-Qaida
affiliate group in Saudi Arabia responsible for attacking housing used
by foreign staff.
He was caught when two terrorist suspects were arrested in Bosnia and
their mobile phones and email records led to the detention of more than
30 people in North America and Europe.
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