A man will spend at least three years behind bars after pleading guilty to terrorism offences following the discovery of an invoice for $28m of ammunition on his mobile phone.
Abdurraouf Eshati, aged 29, from Wrexham was sentenced for terrorism and immigration offences today at the Old Bailey, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The CPS press release stated:
Eshati was one of 20 people found in the back of a lorry after it was stopped and searched in Dover by police. He was challenged and searched after he was seen by an officer to be acting suspiciously and using his phone whilst the lorry was processed. Following a search of his phone, two documents were found which led to his arrest and charge for possessing a collection of information likely to be of use to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism.
Police also discovered a number of false documents which had been provided by Eshati to an immigration tribunal in 2012
A CPS spokesman added that as well as the ammunition invoice, another invoice for the hire of a cargo aircraft in Libya was found on Eshati’s phone.
The judge sentenced Eshati to four years and six months in prison for possessing the invoices and 18 months for the immigration offences. Both sentences were apparently set to run consecutively. Under the law, Eshati will be automatically eligible for release after serving half of his prison term.
Eshati’s guilty plea and sentencing is no big deal; robust law enforcement is what we pay our taxes for. Hopefully he is deported to his country of origin once he completes his sentence.
What is of concern is that, according to the CPS press release, the mere fact that Eshati had an ammunition invoice in his possession was enough to justify charging him with a terrorism offence. This was said to be the criminal offence of “collection of information, contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000“, which reads as follows:
(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or
(b)he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind.
The licensed firearms community must be vigilant to ensure the principle established here (if not an actual legal precedent) does not creep into use against ordinary shooters. It bears repeating that section 45 of the Terrorism Act 2000 already means we must be prepared to prove our innocence in court if an overzealous or malicious police employee decides to target one of us for prosecution.