Hussain denies ISIL membership and recruitment


Hussain denies ISIL membership and recruitment

Ubaydullah Hussain must convince the court that he did not recruit warriors for ISIL, but only helped friends with the trip to Syria when the appeal case starts Monday.


The former profiled spokesman for the Prophet’s Ummah was sentenced this year to nine years in prison for terrorist recruitment and for membership in the terrorist organization the Islamic State (aka ISIL, ISIS, IS, Dayish).

The 32-year-old became the first in Norway convicted of being a member of ISIL without visiting Syria, and also the first convicted of terrorist recruitment. Hussain denies culpability on both accounts. The appeal case starts Monday in Borgarting Court of Appeal. It is set aside five weeks for the case.

Convicted of having recruited convert

Hussain was convicted in the district court for recruiting an 18-year-old ethnic Norwegian convert to go to Syria in 2015. The now 20-year-old man was convicted in the same trial to two years and ten months in prison for attempting to join ISIL. He has not appealed the verdict.

Hussain has claimed that the 18-year-old was a friend who had already decided to travel to Syria and that he only helped him carry out the journey, which was not a crime at the time. Oslo District Court, however, believed that Hussain’s contribution was much more than friendly help and that he was very keen to get the 18-year-old to ISIL in Syria. According to the verdict, Hussain abused a vulnerable and far younger person.

Worse than a foreign fighter

Hussain was also convicted of being a member of ISIL and for providing financial and material support to several Norwegian ISIL warriors in Syria.

The court writes that even though he has never been to Syria and participated in the acts of war, his participation is far more serious than that of a “common” foreign fighter:

“By his statements and actions, Hussain has contributed to supplying ISIL with several foreign fighters, thus strengthening and contributing to the maintenance of the terrorist organization to a far greater extent than a single foreign fighter (…).Hussains work as an inspirator, mentor, counselor, organizer, facilitator, intermediary and / or door opener (…) is just such a man who pulls the threads that the terrorist law is intended to catch, writes the court.

The court points out that for at least four of those Hussain has helped, the stay in Syria has had fatal consequences.

Legal boundaries

Ubaydullah Hussain’s defender, John Christer Elden, says the case is about legal boundaries between recruiting someone and helping anyone who has already decided to travel.

– To help someone travel to Syria was a legal act at the time the case covers, but has been made punishable later. We believe Hussain did not recruit, he merely helped a person who wanted to travel, says Elden about the 18-year-old to NTB.

Hussain also denies to be a member of ISIL.

– This is about the boundary between what is a legal utterance and what is a criminal offense. We believe Hussain has not been a member, he has only expressed support for organizational goals, which are not illegal. He does not know more about people in ISIL than you and I have done, says Elden.

Appealed acquittal

Hussain was also charged with recruiting the Norwegian convert Thom Alexander Karlsen (24), who was killed in action for ISIL in Syria in March 2015, but was acquitted of this in the district court. According to the verdict, the court can not exclude that there were other reasons or persons who affected Karlsen to travel and to join ISIL. The prosecution has appealed the acquittal.

– We do not agree with this. We found it very well-lit that Karlsen was a vulnerable person Hussain recruited to Syria and ISIL. We can not see that there was any evidence involving other people, says the prosecutor, state attorney Frederik G. Ranke, to NTB.

Facts about Ubaydullah Hussain

  • Born in August 1985. Full name is Arslan Ubaydullah Maroof Hussain.
  • Former spokesman for the Islamist group, the Prophet’s Ummah.
  • In February 2014 he was sentenced to 120 days imprisonment for threats in the Oslo District Court.
  • He was charged with soliciting for terror after hailing terrorist acts on Facebook, but was acquitted of this in the District Court and later in Borgarting Court of Appeal.

Hussain was Tuesday April 4, sentenced to nine years in prison in Oslo District Court for terror recruitment and membership of the terrorist organization ISIL, as well as for financial and material support for several Norwegian foreign warriors in Syria. Hussain denies culpability on all counts and has appealed.

The appeal case against Hussain starts in Borgarting’s court of law on Monday, November 6. It is set aside five weeks for the case.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today