Top judges reject bid to jail Wembley mother who posted Islamic State propaganda online
PUBLISHED: 12:12 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:32 19 January 2018
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Court of Appeal judges have rejected a bid to jail a Wembley mother-of-five after she posted Islamic State propaganda on a Facebook group.
Attorney General Jeremy Wright had argued that the non-custodial term imposed in the case of Farhana Ahmed was “unduly lenient”.
Ahmed, 40, was given a two-year suspended sentence by Judge Christopher Moss QC in November after she pleaded guilty to encouraging terrorism and three counts of disseminating documents.
The judge said he was “moved” by the suffering of her five children after receiving a letter from her eldest son and told Ahmed: “In your exceptional case, the sooner you are returned to your children, the better for all concerned.”
Attorney General Jeremy Wright challenged the sentence at the Court of Appeal arguing that it was unduly lenient.
But three judges at the Court of Appeal in London on Thursday announced that they were exercising their discretion not to interfere with the sentence.
Lord Justice Treacy said Ahmed had already served the equivalent of a 13-month sentence while on remand for the offences and said one of the important factors to take into consideration in the case was the position of Ahmed’s children, for whom she is the sole carer.
If she was returned to custody, they would be separated for a second time with further “harmful effects”.
As reported in the Kilburn Times, in November the Old Bailey had heard how Ahmed had been a “prolific” contributor to the pro-Islamic State Facebook group Power Rangers.
She used the fake name Kay Adams to encourage terrorism on the social media site between September and November 2015.
Her postings included a speech by an IS spokesman and a link to an “extensive online library” of terrorist publications, prosecutor Ben Lloyd said.
Ahmed’s posts, in which she expressed approval of the Paris terror attacks, attracted a large number of followers.
Mr Lloyd said: “It is clear from the defendant’s decision to join this group, and then by virtue of the material that she posted, that she shared the group’s ideology and aims.”
The British national travelled to Turkey with her husband Muhammed Burmal Karwani and their five children in November 2013.
She and the children returned to Britain while her husband stayed behind and, when she tried to go to Turkey in August 2015, she was turned away by authorities, the Old Bailey heard.
Lord Justice Treacy said terrorism-related offences would normally carry immediate prison sentences, but announced: “Whilst in our judgment this case could and should have been met by an immediate custodial sentence, so as to reflect the nature and gravity of the offending, that sentence could properly have been equivalent to time already served - that is the equivalent of a term slightly under 13 months.”