Islamic extremists jailed for breaching counter-terrorism restrictions
Two Islamic extremists who admitted to a "serious and deliberate" breach of counter-terrorism restrictions by travelling abroad have been sentenced to two years in prison.
Simon Keeler, 44, and his friend Trevor Brooks, 40, were extradited to the UK after they were arrested in Turkey on a train bound for Bucharest, Romania, in November last year.
The pair had been required to notify police three days in advance of any overseas travel under Part 4 of the Counter Terrorism Act 2008, but failed to do so.
They appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink from north London's Pentonville prison today, where Karen Robinson, prosecuting, said it was clear the men intended to travel for some time.
The court heard the men were carrying significant amounts of cash - Brooks the equivalent of £3,158 and Keeler £4,821 - in sterling, euros and Hungarian forint.
Ms Robinson said: "Both men, the prosecution say, were well aware of the requirements upon them."
The men left the UK by hiding in a lorry to avoid border controls at Dover.
Tanveer Qureshi, defending, said Keeler was attempting to find his wife and six children, who had been somewhere in Turkey since October 2014, and he was unable to travel legitimately because authorities still have his passport.
He said: "He became very desperate, missed his family, wanted to know what was going on, and it was in those circumstances that they left the United Kingdom."
Keeler, of Shadwell, east London, and Brooks, of Clapton, east London, were convicted in April 2008 of fundraising for a terrorism purpose and inciting terrorism. The charges related to speeches they had made in a London mosque four years earlier.
Following appeals, the defendants' sentences were set at three and a half years, but the travel restrictions applied for a decade. Keeler has also been convicted previously of possessing false identification documents.
Mr Justice Saunders took into account their early guilty pleas and willingness to be extradited, and accepted their stated reasons for travel.
But in sentencing, he called the breach "serious and deliberate" and stressed the importance of counter-terrorism restrictions.
Mr Justice Saunders said: "They (restrictions) are particularly important at this time when there has been recent terrorism activity in several European countries and the fear of further terrorist attacks is intense."
Both men were sentenced to two years in prison. The maximum term for the offence is five years.
Mr Justice Saunders added: "Both of these defendants have been convicted of terrorist offences in the past and Parliament has decided that to protect the public, law enforcement agencies should know where convicted terrorists are when they travel abroad so that a check can be kept on their movements."
Brooks was born in Britain to Christian parents of Jamaican origin. He converted to Islam at the age of 17 with one of his brothers and changed his name to Abu Izzadeen.
Former builder Keeler became the first white British Muslim to be convicted of terrorism offences.