Woman who admitted posting IS propaganda will not face jail after judges’ ruling

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Leading judges have rejected a bid to overturn a suspended sentence handed to a mother of five after she posted Islamic State propaganda on a Facebook group.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright had argued that the non-custodial term imposed in the case of Farhana Ahmed was “unduly lenient”.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright
Attorney General Jeremy Wright (PA)

Lord Justice Treacy said Ahmed had already served the equivalent of a 13-month sentence while on remand for the offences.

Any change to the sentence by the court, taking into account her guilty pleas and strong personal mitigation, would have “no practical effect”.

In November at the Old Bailey, Judge Christopher Moss gave Ahmed a two-year suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to encouraging terrorism and three counts of disseminating documents.

The judge said he was moved by the “suffering” of her children and told Ahmed that in her “exceptional” case, the sooner she was returned to them the better for all concerned.

The court heard her behaviour came from a difficult period of her life and she had now rejected extremism.

Lord Justice Treacy,  announcing the decision of the court, said one of the important factors to take into consideration in the case was the position of Ahmed’s children, for whom she is the sole carer.

If Ahmed, from north-west London, was returned to custody “by the order of this court”, they would be separated for a second time with further “harmful effects”.

The judge said terrorism-related offences would normally carry immediate prison sentences.

But he announced: “Whilst in our judgment this case could and should have been met by an immediate custodial sentence, so as to reflect the nature and gravity of the offending, that sentence could properly have been equivalent to time already served – that is the equivalent of a term slightly under 13 months.”

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