A Nottinghamshire man used social media to encourage others to commit terrorism.
In August 2017, Muhammad Hamza Siddiq, formerly known as Andrew Paul Calladine, made a post on his Facebook timeline in which he referred to the struggle of jihad as an obligation that ‘is not limited to defensive operations’.
The post was liked 67 times and led to an investigation by regional Counter-Terrorism officers.
Following the arrest of the 37-year-old, and subsequent search of his home, the former IT worker also refused to provide the PIN number to four of his digital devices to investigating officers — a denial that led to a further criminal charge under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000.
Earlier in the week, midway through a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Siddiq pleaded guilty to Section 1 (encouraging terrorism) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and Section 53(1) (failing to disclose his PIN) of RIPA 2000.
On Friday, February 22, he was jailed for a total of four-and-a-half years. On his release he will also be the subject of monitoring for 10 years.
Judge Melbourne Inman QC called Siddiq ‘a dangerous individual who supported terrorism, and who considered himself above the law — a law that he does not recognise’.
He added that his failure to disclose his PIN to officers constituted a serious offence against national security.
Detective Inspector Jon Scurr, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Special Branch, said: "Let’s put this case into context. The Facebook post made by Hamza Siddiq was published just months after many people, young and old, lost their lives in UK terror attacks in both London and Manchester.
"The statement was inflammatory and inciting. It was certainly a statement that could have been interpreted by some as an encouragement to plan and carry out violent acts of terrorism.
"The fact that Siddiq’s potentially harmful rhetoric was liked numerous times is an exacerbating factor, with his extreme viewpoint seen by and possibly influencing countless people.
"This outcome is the result of a collaborative effort from officers and staff across the East Midlands region, who work hard to protect our communities from terrorism. Our Prevent Officers also work tireless with partner agencies to safeguard those vulnerable to being drawn into extremism in the first place.
"Something as seemingly innocuous as words on a screen can actually have powerful influence and, as this case shows, will not be tolerated or ignored."
If you see extremist or terrorist-related content online report it securely at gov.uk/ACT. Alternatively, call 0800 789 321.
If you have concerns a relative, friend or community member is vulnerable to radicalisation call 101.