Two jailed for terrorism offences after Heathrow Airport arrest had been radicalised with Daesh material

Arrests were made at Heathrow Airport in February 2022 (REUTERS)
Arrests were made at Heathrow Airport in February 2022 (REUTERS)

Two young people who had been “chillingly radicalised” have been jailed for terrorism offences after being arrested at Heathrow Airport.

The Metropolitan Police said on Saturday that Al-Arfat Hassan, 21, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will serve time after their conviction.

The pair were said to have exchanged thousands of messages which expressed extremist views and support for Daesh, the group also known as Islamic State.

One video Hassan had saved contained step-by-step instructions for how to commit a knife attack, and how to build an explosive device.

Detectives also found evidence of Hassan having bought chemicals for such a device.

It has not been said what their plan was at Heathrow Airport - where they were arrested under ‘schedule 7’ powers in February 2022.

Detective chief superintendent Gareth Rees said: “This case is a chilling example of two young people being radicalised, and accessing terrorist content online.

“Their activity was uncovered as a result of proactive policing and the schedule 7 powers we have to stop and speak to people coming through UK ports.

“These powers are an important tool that helps us identify potential terrorist activity and keep the public safe.”

Analysis by police led to officers finding evidence that Hassan had bought chemicals that were ingredients for an explosive device.

In one self-shot mobile phone video recovered by police, he poses with bottles of the chemicals and a sword.

Detectives further discovered that Hassan, who made rap videos, was in regular contact with someone online who was a fan of his music, and who appeared to share his views.

Enquiries led officers to identify this person, who was 15 at the time.

The pair were sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Hassan will serve a minimum of five years in prison after he was convicted of collecting information likely to be useful for terrorism.

He had previously pleaded guilty to possession of chemicals for terrorism purposes.

The 17-year-old was given an extended sentence of three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, including one year on licence.

He admitted charges of collecting information likely to be useful for terrorism, which included a Daesh propaganda video, and of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism.