London, Dec 12: A 19-year-old British student was today sentenced to four years in prison for travelling from the UK to Syria in an attempt to join Islamic State. Ednane Mahmood, from Blackburn in north-west England, fled his home after stating his desire to fight abroad.
He was later persuaded to return by his family, who had reported him missing. Mahmood was found guilty of planning acts of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications in Manchester Crown Court last month and sentenced today.
"My assessment of you is you were and, to some extent, are a naive, unsophisticated individual who has so far lived a fairly sheltered life," Judge Michael Henshell told Mahmood.
Praising his family, the judge said, "By their actions, they prevented you from taking an irrevocable step, which would have resulted in a victory for the barbaric forces that, as you say, had brainwashed you."
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said he (Mahmood) posted an image on Facebook that contained the words, "I wish I could fight in the cause... and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed." On 18 September last year, he left his home to board a flight from Manchester Airport to Bulgaria, leaving a letter for his family.
The court heard that his family was unaware of his intentions and, on the day he fled, reported him missing to police. Mahmood travelled by bus to Turkey to a town near the Syrian border. He tried to contact a number of people asking for urgent help, including one man who he believed was fighting in Syria at the time, GMP added. Mahmood's requests went unanswered and, following an exchange of messages with his family, he returned to the UK.