Couple sent to jail for sending money to nephew fighting with ISIS in Syria

Mohammed and Nazimabee Golamaully

A husband and wife who sent money to their nephew – an ISIS fighter in Syria – have been sentenced at the Old Bailey to a total of four years and one month’s imprisonment.

Nazimabee Golamaully, of Merton, pleaded guilty to one count of fundraising contrary to section 15 of the Terrorism Act 2000. She was sentenced to one year and 10 months in jail.

Her husband Mohammed Golamaully, 48, also of Merton, pleaded guilty to the same offence at an earlier hearing. He was sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment.

Officers from the Counter Terrorism Command’s National Terrorism Financial Investigation Unit (NTFIU) identified that the couple had sent £219 to their nephew via an individual based in Turkey.

Nazimabee Golamaully was arrested in April 2015 and her husband in December 2015. Both were charged on Wednesday, 27 April.

Sentencing Mohammed Golamaully Judge Anuja Dhir QC said: “It is a worrying feature of this case that an intelligent and well respected family man who was regarded as a good neighbour, compassionate work colleague and a loving parent could behave in this way.”

The court heard how Golamaully was a “hardworking family man” who came to the UK from Mauritius in 1990, working his way up from a mental health nurse in the NHS to a “very well paid ” job in the private sector as a hospital director.

From 2010 to his arrest in 2015 he was the manager of the Huntercombe Hospital, a psychiatric intensive care unit in Roehampton, south-west London.

Defending, Richard Thomas, said his client had “become very concerned about events in Syria” but was now “horrified looking back at the language” he used in his communications with his nephew, Zafirr Golamaully, who travelled from his home in Mauritius to join IS in Syria in March 2014.

Lubna and Zafirr Golamaully,
Lubna and Zafirr Golamaully,

In one online exchange, the hospital director spoke positively about a speech by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He also described fighters for the opposition Kurdish group the PKK as “dogs” who “need eradicating”.

On the messaging app Whatsap, Golamaully encouraged his nephew to deceive his parents about why he was going to Turkey.

 

In March 2014 Zafirr Golamaully said: “Told them I’m going to get ‘nursing’ training and that I won’t be available for next two weeks.”

His uncle replied: “The story of two weeks’ training sounds plausible prior to undertaking humanitarian aid.”

Prosecutor Daniel Pawson-Pounds described Zafirr Golamaully as “a relatively high profile fighter for Islamic State in Syria” who has assumed the online alias of “Paladin of Jihad,” through which “he had published a number of accounts relating to travelling to and living in Syria with the purpose of fighting jihad with IS.”

The court heard how Zafirr Golamaully was joined in March 2015 in Syria by his sister, Lubnaa Golamaully, who had also travelled without her parents’ knowledge.

From there she texted her uncle to say her brother had given her a gun. Golamaully warned her: “You’ll need to learn how to use it.”

Judge Dhir said the couple’s messages showed “a sustained and very real sympathy for the ideology of IS in Syria and their methods”. “Those methods involve killing innocent people in acts of terrorism,” she said.

Nazimabee Golamaully’s lawyer, Hossein Zahir, said his client was “devastated by her actions… there’s remorse in bucket loads.”

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “It is clear the couple sent money to their nephew in the knowledge it assisted him to continue his terrorist activity.

“Whilst the sum may appear relatively small we cannot ignore the fact that any amount of cash sent to terrorists is money which is enabling them to further their hatred and carry out attacks.”

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