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Judiciary of england and wales: central criminal court (old bailey): r vs safa boula, 03 august 2018
  • 2014 - 2018
  • Syrian Arab Republic ,
  • United Kingdom
Identification of the Source

Judiciary of England and Wales: Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey): R vs Safa Boula, 03 August 2018

Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Female Terror Cell, Syria, Daesh, Islamic State

Synthetic preliminary metadata analysis
There were two primary factors that led to the radicalisation of XX1:
Mother's Influence:
There were clear catastrophic failings from the mother of the family who failed to allow her children to grow up responsibly and in a cosmopolitan manner that would be compatible with modern London life, this isolated her children and oppressed them. They suffered emotional and at times physical abuse from XX3 as well as being radicalised to extremist levels of sympathy for the cause and legitimacy of jihadism and Daesh.
She was repeatedly admitted to hospital - but home had become a place where there were religious lectures but little in the way of parenting. Mina made her daughter fast, even though there was no religious requirement for a diabetic to do so. And on 29 August 2014, XX1 ran away. "This home is not the right place for me," she wrote in a note she left behind. The escape did not last long. She was found in a local park calling ChildLine.
Furthermore, the attempt made by Safaa Boular to attend Syria:
As chaos reigned in the family during 2014, XX1's older sister, XX2, tried to run away to Syria. She was stopped after a call to the police from XX1 and her older brother. XX2 was found and returned from Istanbul. And police and social services initially investigated until it seemed she had settled down. Safaa appeared to settle down as she gained more control of her diabetes, but it was not a happy existence.
The November 2015 Paris attacks had a big effect on her. She wanted to know what the self-styled Islamic State in Syria meant, and whether she was under a duty as a Muslim to help it, given her mother's lectures about being a good Muslim. Online, she made contact with a woman recruiter in Raqqa, who was among the first and most prolific English language propagandists for IS. Partly through her, XX1 met hundreds of new people online. "It was special, it was exciting," she told her trial. "I was not allowed to go out with my friends from school - so to have these friends was exciting." And one of them was the man who would change her life forever, – XX4, a Coventry man twice her age, who had left for Syria with a friend in June 2015.

Type of Crime

Cybercrime (CC)/Terror-related crime (TN)/Juvenile Crime: Perpetrator was found guilty of preparing acts of terrorism in Vauxhall, London, between August 2016 and April 2017. She planned to travel to Syria to join militants and prepared to carry out a terrorist attack in London with the intention to harm and/ kill members of the public and attack Government and non-government buildings such as the Houses of Parliament, British Museum, and MI5 Headquarters.
She was prosecuted by the Counter Terrorism Division (CTD) at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Headquarters, London.

Type of attack
The planned action was to conduct a suicide attack using grenades and knives and possibly firearms if obtained at the British Museum in Central London during peak visiting hours to maximise civilian casualties. The attack was planned for 27th April 2017, the girls codenamed this as the date they would be holding a 'party'.
XX1's original intention was to conduct a suicide attack in Syria alongside XX4, however following his death she wished to carry out the attack in her home city of London.

Modus Operandi

The family had access to an illicit mobile phone (burner phone) that was kept stuffed inside a pillow in the house, here XX1 had had contact with XX4 for plotting the attacks directly, this is harder for intelligence and law enforcement services to intercept and monitor, however this was counteracted by the fact that the flat had been bugged by British intelligence operatives who were able to listen to their conversations, as well as being embedded in online Daesh recruitment agencies and monitoring the family's communications online.
The internet played a very significant role in the escalation of radicalisation for the XX sisters as they were able to speak directly to sympathisers and build personal friendships. In the case of XX1 she was married online to XX4 via internet streaming, the internet and particularly instant messaging and video calling services provided a way for the XX sisters, particularly XX1 to be groomed emotionally and manipulated to a greater degree into planning terrorist attacks and reinforcing the supposed legitimacy of the Islamic State.

People involved

XX1 - Female - [London, UK, Islamic Faith] was charged with two counts of intending to commit acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit such acts, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. One count related to plans for an attack in Syria and the second to plan an attack in London.
XX2 - Female - [London, UK, Islamic Faith] pleaded guilty intending to commit acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
XX3 - Female - [London, UK, Islamic Faith] pleaded guilty to assisting another person to commit an act of terrorism, contrary to section 5(1)(b) Terrorism Act 2006.
XX4 - Female - [London, UK, Islamic Faith] pleaded guilty to not disclosing information that could have assisted in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of another person for an offence involving the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism, contrary to section 38B(1)(a) Terrorism Act 2000.
XX5 - Male - [Coventry, UK, Islamic Faith] - Killed in Syria on 4th April 2017 by US airstrike authorised on British Intelligence.

Criminal History

As part of a strict religious family, XX1 had claimed she was 'sick of' people calling her a 'postbox' and other derogatory statements due to the strict dress code she adhered to. She was reportedly beaten by her mother, XX2 and her sister were strongly encouraged not to participate in Western traditions and culture that opposed strict fundamental Sunni Islam.
Overall, the family were seen to be 'very dysfunctional' and also that it was a particularly unusual case where no ringleader was identified:
"Dean Haydon, the senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism at Scotland Yard, says the investigation into the XX family has been one of the most unusual his teams have faced.
"They are pretty dysfunctional as a family unit," said Mr Haydon. "There was a major safeguarding issue that we had to manage here."
Police have not identified any "controlling mind" in the family - no ringleader. It's not even clear when XX3 became a threat."
Despite having type one diabetes as a child, XX1 was forced to fast by her mother, this frequently led to hospital visits and bad health.

Influential and/or vulnerable Groups

The influential groups were seen to be the transnational pull of the Islamic State and their recruiters, as well as specifically the mother XX3 and also XX4 for grooming and manipulating XX1 and her sisters.
The daughters XX2 and XX1 are arguably the primary vulnerable individuals who were manipulated by online propaganda and Daesh recruiters, as well as the extremist talk given to them by their mother and subsequently by Hussain. Their vulnerability would primarily be identified as being for the majority period of their sustained radicalisation process as children under insufficient care.