LONDON – A former British school student who went missing during a family vacation to Turkiye has pleaded guilty to traveling to Syria to join Daesh, despite claiming that he spent his time in the country “playing computer games,” according to Sky News.
Shabazz Suleman, also known as Abu Shamil Al-Britani, said he worked for a Turkish NGO after going missing while on a family vacation in 2014, just months before starting university.
However, the former grammar school student was apprehended by Turkish officials and handed to Daesh as part of a prisoner swap, with the terror group releasing 47 jailed Turkish diplomats as part of the deal.
Suleman first appeared to endorse Daesh’s operations, writing a message of encouragement for the murderers of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in early 2015.
“There are so many brothers just waiting for the order to do attacks on the West,” he claimed.
Suleman also uploaded photographs of a suspected spy who the group had decapitated and crucified.
However, later that year, after becoming disillusioned with Daesh’s treatment of local Muslims, the former student was caught and imprisoned in Raqqa.
Suleman stated that after witnessing the abuse and assault of fellow captives, he “gave in” and promised to serve for Daesh in exchange for his release.
This led to his employment with Daesh’s informal military police, which was in charge of controlling local communities in territory controlled by the terror group.
In a 2017 interview with Sky News, he said that his job entailed sitting in an office and playing video games during the day.
He then went into hiding, buying a PlayStation system and “mostly watching Netflix, ‘House of Cards,'” all while residing in Daesh territory.
Suleman was apprehended by anti-regime forces on the Syrian border in 2017, despite his desire to serve a prison sentence in the UK in exchange for his release.
“I accept responsibility,” he told Sky News at the time. I was a member of Daesh, a terrorist organization. But I did not murder anyone, and I hope I did not oppress anyone.
“I had a Kalashnikov and a military uniform, but I didn’t hit anyone or oppress anyone, if that makes sense.”
“I was there with military police, but, like I said, I was in the office.”
Suleman was released and returned to the UK in late 2021, where he was charged with a number of terror charges.
On April 14, he pled guilty to terrorism preparation and was also charged with being a member of Daesh between 2014 and 2017, as well as getting firearms training.
The case’s sentencing has been postponed until May 26.