Leicester Jihadist Sentencing Adjourned
25 April 2019, 12:04 | Updated: 25 April 2019, 12:05
A man from Leicester and his friend convicted of preparing for terrorist acts in support of the so-called Islamic State after trying to reach Syria have had their sentencing adjourned.
Hanzalah Patel, and Safwaan Mansur, from Birmingham, travelled to Turkey in 2016 and 2017 after checking out an area near the Syrian border on TripAdvisor, a two-week trial was told.
Prosecutors alleged the men had attempted to explain away their travel plans as an "innocent camping holiday".
Both men were due to be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday, but the judge put off the case for further reports into the men's offending.
At the men's trial, jurors heard the pair, who spent nine days in jail in Turkey in 2017 after being arrested at an Istanbul hotel, bought camping equipment, outdoor survival clothing and airline tickets before travelling initially to Germany.
Prosecutors alleged Mansur, 22, of Hampton Road, Aston, and Patel, also 22, of Frederick Road, Leicester, undertook a 24-hour bus journey from Istanbul to near the Syrian border during a previous visit to Turkey in 2016.
The men were arrested at Heathrow Airport in 2017 after being reported missing by family members.
During subsequent questioning by police, the court heard Mansur said he had gone to Turkey's Hatay province - described in court as a "transit area" for Syria - in 2016 to "have a look" like "lots of other tourists".
Claiming items including water purifiers and solar chargers were found in the men's luggage, Mr Davis told the court: "Mr Patel, when interviewed, throughout maintained a no comment stance, as was his right."
Jurors were told Mansur said items in his luggage were gifts for friends at a mosque in Germany, where he intended to stop off en route to or from Turkey.
Outlining Mansur's account, Mr Davis told the jury panel: "The people at the mosque liked outdoor pursuits like camping - that was the explanation being given."
Lawyers acting for both defendants said the men had formed a "naive and idiotic" plan to cross into Syria, but had no intention of fighting or committing acts of terrorism.
Patel's father contacted police in June 2017 after becoming concerned, having learned that his son had lied about leading prayers at a mosque in Germany.
Adjourning sentencing, Judge Mark Wall QC said: "I'm sorry to have to adjourn this case.
"The only way reports can be properly prepared in cases of this seriousness is if the reporting officer knows both sides of the story."
The men were remanded back into custody to be sentenced at the court on May 20.