He was being held in what is supposed to be one of the most secure prisons in the U.K., but 30-year-old Shahan Choudhury, who is accused of participating in the gang murder of a teenager, still managed to escape and run to Syria. And it turns out that he was influenced to do this while in prison.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Choudhury was radicalized in HMP Belmarsh prison and is known to having used Twitter in his efforts to get other British Muslims to stage terror attacks on innocent people.
Now, he’s reportedly on the run to Syria in an effort to join ISIS, along with his wife and three young children. Sources told the Daily Mail that British housing benefit payments could have funded the family’s escape.
Family members told reporters that Choudhury was “brainwashed” after spending 18 months in a British prison for allegedly taking part in the stabbing of a 17-year-old over a low-level drug debt.
“As soon as he was released, he joined the banned al-Muhajiroun (ALM), the hate group led by Anjem Choudary which has called for the implementation of Sharia Law in the U.K.,” according to the report.
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“He was just like any other western kid when he went in,” recalled one of the fugitive’s relatives, “but by the time he came out, he was going on about religion and how the kuffar (nonbelievers) would all end up in hellfire.”
His wife, Mehak, was reported to have also been radicalized. According to her father, “I told police at the time that my daughter was becoming brainwashed and was involved with these people. But they told me there was no evidence of extremism and that, as an adult, she could do what she wanted.”
The prison that was holding Choudhury, HMP Belmarsh has earned a reputation for being “like a jihadi training camp.”
“The problem is that Belmarsh is also a holding prison, and so young people are brainwashed and indoctrinated and then go out into the wider prison system and create wider Akhi networks,” one former inmate told reporters, noting, “Governors, prison officers, and imams all know about this.”
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