Terror suspect who wanted ISIS flag to fly over Downing Street faces jail
David Souaan, 20, was convicted in December of preparing for terrorist acts after he stood trial at the Old Bailey in London.
Souaan, the son of a Serbian Christian mother and Syrian Muslim father, grew up in Serbia but had close family ties to Syria and had adopted his father's religion, the jury heard.
He came to the UK in 2013 on a three-year visa to study global politics and international relations at Birkbeck College in London.
Souaan reportedly visited Syria in December 2013. He was arrested at Heathrow Airport on May 31 last year because he planned to return to Syria to fight the jihadist cause.
He denied the terrorism charge and said his first visit to Syria was to accompany his father to his home town of Deir ez-Zor in Syria to collect his grandfather's belongings.
He was arrested after fellow students became concerned about his radical views on Islam. He allegedly also showed off pictures of himself posing with guns.
When he was arrested, police seized his laptop and phone. Pictures, videos and documents on these devices revealed his “extremist sympathies.”
British courts have found David Souaan guilty of planning to fight jihad in Syria! Inevitable jail sentence as well! pic.twitter.com/z2J9LyeRx2
— ANTI JIHAD CENTRE (@jihadcrisiscent) December 17, 2014
Sarah Whitehouse QC, prosecuting, said one video clip on Souaan’s phone was “so graphic and so shocking” that it could not be played in court. It showed a man kneeling with his head held back as another man cut his throat.
Souaan claimed he posed in Syria with machine guns and on a tank because he “wanted to look cool” and the photographs were just to keep as “trophies.”
The court heard Souaan filmed himself attending a demonstration in the UK involving radical cleric Anjem Choudary.
In the background, a man, believed to be Souaan, says: “The flag of Tawheed in London, all praise be to Allah the lord of the universe” – referring to the wish of Muslim extremists to see the black flag fly over Downing Street.
After nine hours, the jury rejected his claims he only held the weapons because he ‘wanted to look cool.’ They ruled Souaan was an extremist who planned to fight in Syria.
He will be sentenced by Judge Peter Rook on Tuesday.