Anjem Choudary (L) and his associate Mohammed Mizanur Rahman (file photo)
Radical British preacher Anjem Choudary has been jailed for five and a half years for encouraging support for the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
Choudary, 49, was sentenced on Tuesday at London's Old Bailey court, following a conviction in July for using online lectures and messages to encourage support for Daesh.
Choudary, who was born in London to Pakistani parents, was convicted along with his associate Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 33.
Choudary told his followers to support Daesh in a series of videos on YouTube.
Police say his followers carried out attacks in Britain and overseas.
The court heard that Choudary and Rahman pledged allegiance to Daesh and used a convicted terrorist to publish their oath on an Indonesian website in 2014, Scotland Yard said.
"We have watched Choudary developing a media career as spokesman for the extremists, saying the most distasteful of comments, but without crossing the criminal threshold," said Commander Dean Haydon, the head of Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command.
"Their recent speeches and the oath of allegiance were a turning point for the police — at last we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they were actively encouraging support of ISIL."
Judge Timothy Holroyde said Choudary and Rahman were "calculating and dangerous" and had shown no remorse.
“Throughout all of your speeches and broadcasts you expressed your contempt for the values of the democracy in which we live,” Judge Holroyde said. “You show no remorse at all for anything you have said or done, and I have no doubt you will continue to communicate your message whenever you can.”
Terrorism experts say Choudary’s influence extended to other parts of Europe, particularly France and Belgium.
“Historically, many terrorist plots in the UK could be linked back to networks he was involved in, and more recently, groups across Europe that he helped establish were at the core of networks sending westerners to Syria and Iraq,” said Raffaello Pantucci, director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute.