Couple face jail for sending money to nephew as he fought for Isis

Nephew recruited jihadists wanting to join Isis and celebrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks

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The Independent Online

A couple who sent money to their nephew as he fought for Isis in Syria have pleaded guilty to funding terrorism.

Mohammed Golamaully and his wife Nazimabee Golamaully admitted sending £219 to the jihadist, who celebrated the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Twitter and recruited for the so-called Islamic State.

Nazimabee, 45, and Mohammed, 48, were released on conditional bail by a judge at the Old Bailey and will be sentenced on 10 November.

Nazimabee Golamaully admitting funding terrorism by sending money to an Isis fighter (Metropolitan Police)

The couple, from Streatham in London, sent Zafirr Golamaully the funds in August 2014, as Isis continued its bloody advance through Iraq and Syria.

Zafirr had left his home in Mauritius earlier in the year to join the jihadist group, after asking his aunt and uncle to help him hide his intentions from his parents.

In a WhatsApp message sent to Mohammed in March 2014, he said: “Told them I'm going to get 'nursing' training and that I won't be available for next two weeks.”

In messages seen by the BBC, Mohammed replied: “The story of two weeks training sounds plausible prior to undertaking humanitarian aid.”

Weeks later, Zafirr was fighting for Isis in Syria, updating his uncle about his military training and discussing the transfer of money via Western Union.

Mohammed Golamaully admitting funding terrorism by sending money to an Isis fighter (Metropolitan Police)

The militant’s parents appeared to be unaware of the scheme, telling their relatives they were “in shock” and voicing confusion and guilt over their children’s extremism.

After travelling to Isis territory, Zafirr became known for social media accounts and website under the pseudonym Abu Hud and using the Twitter handle @PaladinOfJihad.

He gained international attention for celebrating the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015, tweeting: “You heard it here first. Snail eaters [French victims] ate lead.”

Zafirr actively recruited Isis fighters online, offering tips on how to evade security services while travelling to Syria and praising his new life, as well as calling on supporters to assassinate the Dalai Lama and other targets.

His aunt and uncle’s part in his crime is thought to have been discovered by accident as detectives investigated a network that funnelled payments of more than £100,000 in total over three months to Isis via a middle man in Turkey.

The £219 from Nazimabee’s bank account was among them, the BBC reported, with the woman initially claiming it was to fund Zafirr’s “studies” in Turkey.

On Monday, Judge Anuja Dhir QC warned she could face jail for violating section 15 of the Terrorism Act, adding: “You have pleaded guilty to a serious offence and one that you I am sure appreciate ordinarily attracts an immediate custodial sentence and the question for me will be how long that sentence should be.

"But your advocate has asked me to order a pre-sentence report which will give me more information about you and will also give recommendations as to sentence.

"You must not assume because I am ordering a report of that kind that it means that the sentence will be either suspended or not involve a period of custody."

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, said that the amount of money sent to Zafirr was irrelevant. 

“Any amount of cash sent to terrorists is money which is enabling them to further their hatred and carry out attacks on innocent people,” he added.

“So regardless of the amount in question, the Counter Terrorism Command will identify those who support terrorism and prosecute them where appropriate.”

Additional reporting by PA