Heathrow Airport: Man jailed for spreading Islamic State propaganda after Heathrow arrest

A man who traveled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State has been jailed after admitting to sharing the group’s propaganda videos.

Stefan Aristidou, 27, from Enfield in north London, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in February this year after being deported from Turkey.

He was jailed for two years and four months following a hearing at the Old Bailey.

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Aristidou, of Greek Cypriot origin, shared videos on Skype with another Canada-based user named Mullins 1169.

Some of the videos shared by Aristidou, who was 21 at the time and a great gamer, showed mass executions, sniper assassinations and beheadings.

Aristidou converted to Islam in late 2013 and became increasingly drawn to ISIS over the course of 2014, as he captured large swathes of Syria.

In April 2015, after having lived an Islamic marriage, he left London with his new wife for Syria via Cyprus and Turkey.

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Aristidou and his wife are said to have spent two years in Syria, Old Bailey has learned, although it is not known what they were doing during their stay.

The court heard that the couple were arrested by Turkish authorities at the Syrian-Turkish border in April 2017.

His wife and child were deported to the UK, but Aristidou was indicted and convicted of being a member of ISIS in October 2018 and jailed for six years and three months by a Turkish court.

He was deported to the UK in February this year after serving just under three years of his sentence as part of the country’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in prisons, the court heard.

Aristidou has not been accused of being a member of ISIS by the British authorities due to the lack of evidence of his activities in Syria.

But he has been charged with seven counts of disseminating a terrorist publication dating back to before he left Britain.

It was alleged that between November 2014 and February 2015, he sent messages with an electronic link to various IS-related publications.

In July, he admitted four of the charges relating to ISIS propaganda videos over a five-week period between November and December 2014, while the other three were left behind.

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Prosecutor Kelly Brocklehurst said some of the videos “had a production style reminiscent of modern gaming culture and were clearly aimed at glorifying extreme violence in the name of a political and allegedly religious cause.”

Imprisoning Aristidou for two years and four months, Judge Mark Dennis QC said his “determined and successful attempt” to join ISIS had forced him to conclude “that there still remains a significant risk that the accused commits serious prejudice to other offenses ”.

He added: “Instead of being repelled by such sickening violence, you were drawn to it and chose to leave your family and join and support those who glorified such violence and promoted the violent extremist cause. “

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Aristidou was told he was to serve two-thirds of his sentence in prison instead of the usual half, with an additional year added to his license period.

Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) anti-terrorism division, said: “The CPS was able to show that Stefan Aristidou regularly shared terrorist material before leaving the UK in 2015, and unabashedly supported Daesh. .

“The content shared by Aristidou was dangerous and it is right that he was condemned today.”

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