Brit who wanted to join Abus gets 8 years
(The Philippine Star) - March 9, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A British man, who tried to join terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao some time last year,  was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in the UK.

 Ryan Counsell, 28, sat emotionless in the dock as the verdict was passed, according to reports in UK newspapers The Daily Mail and The Daily Sun on Monday.

Counsell was said to be “in the advanced stages of planning to travel to a remote part of the Philippines in order to join and fight with an Islamic terrorist group.”

Counsell is also accused of owning copies of bomb-making manual and instructions on how to join the Islamic State.

On the morning of his arrest in July last year, Counsell and his family were stopped at Stansted Airport while waiting for a flight to Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Counsell, who worked part-time at a supermarket in Nottingham, had booked a week off work and was due to leave for the Philippines two days later. But police raided his home after they were alerted to his purchases of military equipment from a website called UKMC Pro Ltd., beginning in August 2014.

Counsell denies preparing acts of terrorism by obtaining information about Islamic terrorist groups in the Philippines, arranging to travel to the Philippines to join and fight for an Islamic terrorist group and purchasing equipment and clothing for use when having joined such a group.

He said the documents were for academic research with a view to countering extremism.

Counsell said the military equipment was for use in airsoft, a shooting game similar to paintballing, although he had only played once, seven years earlier.

Counsell claimed that he planned to travel to Zamboanga to do charitable work in a camp and denied any intention to join Abu Sayyaf or support for Islamic State.

ABU SAYYAF
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