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Isis member used Bitcoin to transfer money from UK ‘for release of jihadists in Syrian prisons’, court hears

An alleged Isis member attempted to use Bitcoin to help imprisoned jihadists escape from prisons in northern Syria, a court has heard.

Hashim Chaudhary, 27, was allegedly a member of Isis since January 2016 and carried out fundraising and propaganda work to benefit the group.

Prosecutor Samuel Main told the Old Bailey the case was “factually novel” and one of the first times someone had been charged with Isis membership in the UK.

“The defendant is alleged to have used Bitcoin to transfer funds abroad,” he told a hearing on Friday.

“He held himself out as being able to engage in that kind of transaction.”

Mr Chaudhary is accused of gathering funds and transferring money abroad using the cryptocurrency to allow captured Isis militants to escape Kurdish-controlled prison camps in northern Syria.

He is also accused of disseminating terrorist publications through Twitter and the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

He has not yet been asked to enter a plea to the charges.

Justice Sweeney remanded Mr Chaudhary in custody ahead of a plea hearing on 8 March.

A provisional trial date has been set for 24 May at Nottingham Crown Court.