Pair jailed for 'supporting jihad' win prison term cuts

Two men who travelled to Syria to "support jihad" have won a reduction intheir prison sentences.

Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar, now both aged 23 and from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, went to the war-torn country in May 2013 after contacting Islamic extremists.

The pair were arrested on their return to the UK and were jailed in December after pleading guilty to one count of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorism acts contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

They were each given an extended sentence of 17 years and eight months -comprising a custodial term of 12 years and eight months and a five-year licence period.

On Wednesday, three judges at the Court of Appeal in London allowed theirappeals against the sentence handed out at Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London.

The judges imposed a new sentence of 15 years and three months, made up of a custodial term of 10 years and three months and an extended licence period of five years.

Lord Justice Treacy, announcing the decision, said the facts showed that on May 15 2013 the men travelled from the UK to Turkey and then on to Syria "where they were involved with Islamist forces fighting against the regime of President Assad".

Before they went "each of them had misled his family as to the purpose of the trip".

He said:

The judge, sitting with Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing and Sir David Madden, said:

The court was satisfied that the trial judge was "correct in making a findingof dangerousness and passing an extended sentence".

Lord Justice Treacy said the prosecution did not assert the men had taken part in fighting, putting its case forward on the basis that they had been involved in armed activity close to the combat zone.

But the trial judge had gone "beyond the basis upon which the case had been advanced by the Crown and formed conclusions adverse to the appellants which ran contrary to their bases of plea".

Lord Justice Treacy said of the pair:

Allowing the sentence challenges, he added:

Neither man had any previous convictions, but they had committed "graveoffences.