Willesden man who used student loan to join ISIS loses his appeal
PUBLISHED: 17:20 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:20 19 January 2017
A Willesden man who spent his student loan on travelling to Syria to join ISIS has lost his appeal to clear his name.
Yahya Rashid, 20, paid for himself and four friends to fly to Morocco, from where they went by coach to the war-ravaged country to fight with the terrorist organisation, after being radicalised.
The former Alperton School pupil, who has a low IQ, took out a £6,000 loan after enrolling on an electronic engineering course at Middlesex University using a forged certificate of qualification.
In November 2015 he was jailed for five years at Woolwich Crown Court, after being found guilty of two Terrorism Act offences and admitting fraud.
Yesterday Rashid challenged his conviction at the Court of Appeal with his legal team arguing that, given his extremely low IQ, jurors should not have been told about his police station confession, as no appropriate adult or lawyer was with him at the time and he therefore may not have understood questions.
But his appeal was rejected by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said the conviction was “safe”.
The court heard Rashid and the others travelled to Syria in February 2015.
After a month he travelled back to the UK and was arrested by Turkish police when he went to the British Embassy in Istanbul.
During a police interview in London, he claimed he wasn’t aware what IS was and thought he and his friends were going to live in Syria peacefully.
Dismissing his appeal, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, said there was nothing wrong with the handling of the case.
Sitting with Mr Justice Wilkie and Mr Justice Fraser, he added: “In our judgment, the evidence plainly entitled the jury to conclude that the admissions (in interview) were made voluntarily and were reliable.”