A man has been convicted after he accidentally told covert police officers of his plans to launch a terrorist attack.
Mohuissunnath Chowdhury, 28, of Luton and his sister who kept the plans secret been convicted following a counter terrorism investigation that has lasted over 6 months.
He was recorded at his home address telling his sister Sneha Chowdhury, 25, of Luton, that he was “doing another attack”.
He was also heard on tape asking her for “help to practise stabbing people“ which she did not report to the police at all.
An unsuspecting Mohuissunnath Chowdhury told covert officers sent to ‘befriend him’ that he was considering targeting crowded central-London tourist attractions and the Pride celebrations.
Having gathered a wealth of evidence that proved the Chowdhurys’ guilt, detectives arrested the siblings together on 3 July 2019, days before Pride in London.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, said: “The courage and professionalism of these covert officers meant they obtained evidence that was, I feel, crucial to us securing these convictions today. They, like so many officers working across counter terrorism policing every day, are carrying out dangerous and challenging work to ensure the public is kept safe.”
“In counter terrorism, we constantly balance the risk dangerous individuals pose to the public with the need to gather evidence strong enough to secure a conviction and ensure they are locked up. Mohuissunnath Chowdhury was determined to kill innocent people but we arrested him at the right time, having been able to gather sufficient evidence of his plans.”
Detectives witnessed a stark change in Mohuissunnath Chowdhury’s demeanour over the course of his time in police custody. In initial police interviews he was open and talkative with detectives. Police believe he thought he was keeping them distracted while ‘Mikael’ went ahead with an attack.
Days later, when police revealed his ‘friend’ was in fact a covert officer, he became visibly withdrawn and refused to engage with detectives, answering “no comment” to their questions.
Mohuissunnath Chowdhury was subsequently charged with preparation of acts of terrorism. He was also charged with dissemination of a terrorist publication, in relation to a violent terrorist propaganda video he sent the covert officers, and possession of information useful to terrorism, for having a guide to carrying out terror attacks on his phone. Today he was found guilty of all these offences.
Sneha Chowdhury was found guilty of one count of failing to disclose information regarding terrorist activity. She was found not guilty of another count of failing to disclose information regarding terrorist activity.
Speaking of Sneha Chowdhury’s conviction, Commander Smith said: “There is no acceptable reason for listening to someone say they are planning to kill innocent people, and watching them practise how they will do that, then not reporting it to police. Sneha Chowdhury wilfully kept her brother’s horrific secret and is now facing the consequences.
“However, not every case has to end this way. If relatives report indications that a loved one is becoming radicalised early on, there is an opportunity for authorities to intervene and help them before they become too deeply entrenched. All it takes is a phone call.”
Anyone who has concerns that someone may be becoming radicalised, or who has concerns about suspicious behaviour, is urged to act by reporting it to police in confidence at https://act.campaign.gov.uk/ or by calling 0800 789 321.
Reporting won’t ruin lives, but it could save them. Action Counters Terrorism.
Remember, in an emergency, always dial 999.
(Image and source credit: Met Police)