Anjem Choudary, the infamous Islamist preacher who has praised the 9/11 hijackers and called for the implementation of sharia law across the United Kingdom, will be serving more than five years in a British prison.
Choudary had been convicted in August of inviting support for a terrorist organization, with a London court concluding that he had pledged support to the Islamic State, and encouraged others to do the same.
"Both men were fully aware that Daesh is a proscribed terrorist group responsible for brutal activities and that what they themselves were doing was illegal," said Sue Hemming, Head of Counter Terrorism for the Crown Prosecution Service, in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "Those who invite others to support such organisations will be prosecuted and jailed for their crimes."
The radical preacher has a long history in the UK, and has repeatedly made incendiary and controversial statements. He became a street preacher in London after he was banned from a host of different locations and mosques. Those comments — wherein he praised the Islamic State, called the United Kingdom an "apartheid system," and refused to condemn executions of Westerners by terrorist organizations — were never deemed criminal.
In 2014, Choudary and a close associate were arrested by British police after publishing several videos sympathetic to IS which encouraged others in the West to join the terrorist organization.
At least one of Choudary's followers, Siddhartha Dhar, left the UK to join IS.
Neither Choudary nor his associate, Mohammed Rahman, who also received a five-year sentence, will be eligible for parole until September 2019.
Watch the VICE News documentary about Anjem Choudary and his followers, London's Holy Turf War: