Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Terror suspect told police he was a ‘one nation Tory’, court hears

An update from the Independent on the progress of this trial

A terror suspect described himself as a “one nation Tory” when asked about his political views by police, a court has heard. Muhamed Abu, 32, denies concealing an alleged terror plot mounted by his brother Sahayb last year from the authorities.

Prosecutor John McGuinness QC told the Old Bailey that although only Sahayb is accused of preparing an act of terrorism, Muhamed also supported Isis. “This, says the prosecution, is seen not only from their communications with each other but also from the internet searches which they made on their devices, as well as the documents, photographs and videos that were downloaded on to them.”

But on Monday, the court was read summaries of Muhamed’s police interviews following his arrest on 9 July, showing him denying holding extremist views. 

“[Muhamed said he] it's the ultra-nationalism and ethno-nationalists that he takes umbrage with, and that he is a one nation Tory, as Boris Johnson describes himself,” Mr McGuinness told jurors. “He loves Churchill but sometimes hates him as well, he polarizes people but is from a different era.”

When asked why he had conducted online searches for Isis and related material, he said he had no recollection of the searches, and said he had only looked up former Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to see how he died.

The jury heard that Muhamed also told police that he had watched some Isis propaganda videos to understand “why is all this happening, why are these people doing this stuff”.

Three days ago the Old Bailey heard that he joined a group called Servants of the Unseen on the encrypted Telegram app on 23 June, after applying with messages including one reading: “Time for talk over 100 per cent. Talking is over. The kuffar [non-Muslims] aren’t talking, that’s for sure.”

Abu said he did not believe a lot of the things he wrote on Telegram, and “does not remember half the messages he sent”. “I was just there to try and get a girl, it’s nothing to do with Isis,” he added. Abu told police there were female members of the group who had flowers as their icons, and he thought “maybe behind that screen is a flowery princess, you know, who wouldn’t mind marrying a beast like me . . . I was just like really I’ll find a modest girl on here, because a lot of brothers do get married like that ... lot of brothers met their wives like that on WhatsApp groups but this was the wrong group, wrong chat. . ."

The prosecution argue that Sahayb was planning a terror attack, having purchased a sword, knife, combat vest and gloves online.

They previously told the jury that messages between the brothers and Muhamed’s online activity undermine his claims to have been a pacifist, and that evidence suggests the pair looked at Isis-related material together. 

The Old Bailey has been played videos and audio messages, including a rap sent to two of his brothers on 5 July that ended with the words: “My shank [knife] penetrate ya, got my suicide vest - one click, boom, and I'll see you later.“

In reference to the 2013 terror attack where two Islamist extremist murdered a soldier, Abu said: “I'm trying to see many Lee Rigby’s heads rolling on the ground.”

He added: “I shoot up a crowd cos I'm a night stalker, got my shank, got my guns - straight Isis supporter - reject democracy ... advocate sharia supporter.” 

The court heard that in his first police interview on 15 July, Abu refused to answer questions and his solicitor read a prepared statement. “I have not been preparing, encouraging or inciting any acts of terrorism,” it said. “[Police have shown] personal videos of me that were shared between me and my family for comedic value. I parody many drill urban rap videos and artists. I accept I am a fan of drill artists, who often glamorise street life while wearing balaclavas and body armour.“

Abu also recorded himself singing in the style of Islamic nasheeds, which the Old Bailey heard were a type of song that had been appropriated by Isis for propaganda purposes. The jury were previously played a recording of Abu singing: “No matter the way the wind blows, I will always be down with my bros, I will always be ready to eliminate the foes.”

The court heard that two of the defendants’ half-brothers, Wail and Suleyman Aweys, died after joining Isis in Syria in 2015.

Sahayb, of South Norwood in London, denies preparing an act of terrorism. His brother, Muhamed, of Dagenham, denies failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism. The trial continues.

Posted on 02/23/2021 10:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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