Warrington man jailed over cyber terror

27 April 2018, 16:47 | Updated: 27 April 2018, 16:50

rabar mala

A man who helped suspected terrorists promote extremism has been jailed following the first prosecution of its kind.

33-year-old Rabar Mala of Gough Avenue, Warrington was sentenced to eight years in prison at Manchester Crown Square today (Friday 27 April 2018) and will remain on licence for 15 years thereafter.

He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of property - namely communication devices and articles -for the purposes of terrorism under Section 16 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

He is the first person in the UK to be prosecuted using this specific legislation.

The court heard how Mala had possessed 360 sim cards between January 2016 and August 2017.

He used his mobile phone to enable so-called Islamic State supporters and suspected terrorists to activate social media accounts across the globe, some of whom were believed to be in Syria and Turkey.

The accounts provided the suspected terrorists with access to social media platforms and encrypted messaging applications such as Telegram which were believed to be used for extremist purposes including spreading and promoting propaganda.

In August 2017 officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North West, supported by Cheshire Constabulary, raided Mala’s home after he was linked to extremist videos online.

Officers spent four days searching the property where they seized hundreds of sim cards, several mobile phones and Daesh material.

An extensive investigation revealed Mala had 29 different versions of the encrypted messaging application Telegram on his mobile and 13 of these had active content.

One version of the application alone held 732,635 messages in four different languages.

Detective Superintendent Will Chatterton, Head of Investigations for Counter Terrorism Policing North West, said: “By day Mala appeared to be a hardworking well-liked man but, when he got home, he’d dedicate endless hours to helping promote terrorism.

“Although he never travelled to war zones, he supported terrorism from his home in Cheshire.

“He devoted his spare time to helping suspected terrorists share their extremist and radicalised views which could potentially be extremely dangerous.

“He became more and more confident in the fact that he would never be caught, but intelligence led us to his door where we uncovered the true extent of his involvement.

“Today’s sentencing – a first in the UK using specific terrorism legislation - is a testament to the officers who spent painstaking hours trawling through Mala’s messages to bring him to justice.

“This was an incredibly complex investigation due to the sheer amount of data the team had to analyse and their efforts and dedication has ultimately convicted a dangerous man who has no place in a civilised society.

“I’d also like to thank colleagues at Cheshire Constabulary for their help and support throughout this investigation.”

To report any suspicious activity call police on 0800 789321.

Anyone who sees extremist content online can report their concerns anonymously to specialist officers at the world-leading Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit at www.gov.uk/report-terrorism