UK teen who spent student loan travelling to join IS jailed

Updated on Nov 20, 2015 01:17 PM IST

Yahya Rashid paid £906 (1,300 euros, $1,400) for himself and four friends to travel to the Turkish border town of Gaziantep in February.

Yahya Rashid paid £906 (1,300 euros, $1,400) for himself and four friends to travel to the Turkish border town of Gaziantep in February. Here, a file picture of Islamic State fighters.(AP)
Yahya Rashid paid £906 (1,300 euros, $1,400) for himself and four friends to travel to the Turkish border town of Gaziantep in February. Here, a file picture of Islamic State fighters.(AP)
AFP | By, London

A 19-year-old who spent his student loan travelling to the Turkey-Syria border and wanted to join the Islamic State group is behind bars in Britain, police said Thursday.

Yahya Rashid paid £906 (1,300 euros, $1,400) for himself and four friends to travel to the Turkish border town of Gaziantep in February.

He stayed in an IS safe house but shortly before he was due to cross into Syria, he changed his mind and returned to Istanbul.

Rashid, aged 18 at the time, was then detained by Turkish police and deported back to Britain, where he was arrested on his arrival.

Police believe his travelling companions did cross into Syria and are still there.

Rashid, whose family is originally from Somalia, was sentenced to five years in a youth offenders’ institution Wednesday for terrorism offences.

“You told the jury you had never held a gun in your life and there is no reason to believe that is untrue,” Judge Philip Katz told Rashid as he passed sentence.

“But goodness knows what you would have gone on to do as a foot soldier of ISIS” (another term for IS).

Rashid’s lawyer Mark McDonald insisted his client had wanted to live in an “Islamic utopia” but not fight.

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