The former wife of a hate preacher jailed for terrorism offences has been sent to prison herself for sharing shocking extremist material online.
Khadidja Benboukhemis, whose third husband is Abu Izzadeen, shared a so-called Islamic State video showing beheadings and mutilated children.
Kingston Crown Court heard Benboukhemis, from Plymouth, admitted sending the material last year but she insisted she was unaware of the content and was “trying to gain the recipient’s opinion of it”.
Benboukhemis sent someone a song, known as a ‘Nasheed’, which was an “explicit encouragement to support Islamic State”, PlymouthLive reports.
She also sent a video called “Flames of War 2” which a judge said contained “graphic recordings of beheadings, executions by setting victims on fire, the desecration of the dead bodies of IS opponents and the mutilated bodies of children killed in the Syrian War.”
The court heard the video, which was almost an hour long, was “intermingled” with footage of attacks by Islamic state on Western targets, as well as battle scenes and the “glorification of IS fighters”.
The 42-year-old mum was first arrested on May 21 last year following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Police South East (CTPSE) and supported by Counter Terrorism Police South West (CTPSW) and Devon and Cornwall Police.
Officers arrived shortly after 10.30am and erected a cordon in a car park before carrying out searches of a vehicle in Plymouth.
One resident told PlymouthLive that he, along with other residents, were instructed to stay indoors during the operation.
During a search of her address, investigators found devices containing evidence of discussions about Daesh and evidence that some files had been shared to others by Telegram.
She was further arrested on July 30 and was charged with two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications, contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act (2006) on December 11 last year.
The court heard Benboukhemis was married to former BT electrician Izzadeen, whose name was Trevor Brooks before he converted, from June 2014 to November 2017.
He was jailed for two years in January 2016 for leaving the UK illegally after he was found in Hungary on a train to Bucharest, having been smuggled out of the UK via Dover.
An associate of convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary and spokesperson for terror group Al Ghurabaa, he was also jailed in 2008 for four-and-a-half years on charges of fundraising for terrorism and inciting terrorism overseas.
The court heard Benboukhemis was living a “double life” – working, volunteering and looking after her children by day – but by night immersed in an “online world of rhetoric and discussion around Islam that became increasingly extreme”.
She blamed Izzadeen, her third husband, for her involvement in radical Islam telling a probation officer that he would encourage her to research her knowledge of Islam.
However evidence from her phone showed Benboukhemis had sent a Whatsapp message saying Izzadeen was “detained in the prison of Cross worshippers. Just because he said the truth”.
Benboukhemis admitted both charges but insisted she was unaware of the content and was “trying to gain the recipient’s opinion of it”.
However this was rejected by The Recorder of Richmond Judge Peter Lodder QC who said Benboukhemis was “intelligent and articulate” and aware of what she was sharing.
Jailing her for three years, he said: “This was the highly provocative and deeply shocking material which you sent, intending to encourage acts of terrorism.
“You were well aware of your husband’s allegiances, and demonstrated your support for them.
“It may well be that you were guided into the radical world by one or both of your second and third husbands, but it is clear that you quickly became an enthusiastic and committed IS supporter.”
He added: “I am prepared to accept that you are now beginning to appreciate just how wrong it was to act as you did, and I hope that you have realised that you must have nothing to do with terrorism in the future.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, who lead the investigation, said: “People should be under no illusion that sharing material such as this is a serious criminal offence and people will be prosecuted if they are found to be doing so.”