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Jihadist Jailed for Internet Use in UK

Posted Jul 5, 2007 4:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: A self-proclaimed jihadist has been jailed in Britain, along with two accomplices, based solely on his use of the Internet, in the first such terrorism case.

A 10-year prison term was imposed today on Younis Tsouli, 23, a Moroccan-born resident of London, for inciting others to commit terrorism, reports AP. Two accomplices received sentences of approximately seven years for the same offense. One was born in Britain and the other is from the United Arab Emirates.

The three operated a network of Web sites from their London homes that provided advice and encouragement to terrorists and pointed them to al-Qaida. Until their arrest in 2005, the three were the leading Internet distributor of terrorist material, says Evan Kohlmann, a U.S. consultant who testified in the case. "There are people, including law enforcers, who initially thought these guys were computer geeks or hackers," he told AP. "But they were a lot more dangerous, they were the key aides to al-Qaida. There was no one more skilled at what they did."

Judge Charles Openshaw says the three are the first defendants ever convicted of terrorism in Britain based solely on their use of the Internet.

Their operation was funded by Internet-run identity theft scams and credit card fraud, and this case also is a first because it has educated authorities about the need to curtail such financial crimes as part of the war on terrorism, as another ABAJournal.com post discusses.

(Originally published 2:49 p.m.)

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