Court

Bermuda-linked men in UK on terror charges

A trial for two men from Bermuda facing terrorism charges in Britain began yesterday at the Old Bailey in London.

Hisham Muhammad, 25, accused of subscribing to radical Islam, allegedly planned to use a radio-controlled drone to attack an army barracks.

His cousin, Faisal Ahmad, 24, is charged with knowledge of the plot and failure to inform authorities.

The two have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Anne Whyte, QC, the prosecutor, told the court that Mr Muhammad “grew up in Bermuda where his parents lived but moved as a young man to Gambia”.

Mr Ahmad was said to be Bermudian-born but moved to the United States as a young man, and then to Gambia, West Africa. The men, who are brothers-in-law, were said to have moved to Britain in 2013.

Both were arrested in June 2018 after a raid on their apartment in Whitefield in Bury, Greater Manchester, where weapons were allegedly found.

The jury heard that Mr Muhammad subscribed to “extremist” ideology in the vein of the Islamic State terrorist group, and planned a “lone-wolf attack”.

According to the Manchester Evening News, the prosecutor told jurors: “He had researched how small drones might be adapted to drop some sort of device designed to harm others.

“He had also obtained a variety of weapons and researched how to use knives to lethal effect.

“He had purchased blade-sharpening implements and had used them.“

Mr Muhammad allegedly feigned interest in joining the British Army as a pretext for visiting the Castle Armoury Barracks in Bury in May of last year.

He was accused of preparing to target the armed forces or police with knives.

The men lived together with Mr Ahmad’s mother, who notified the landlord she planned to move out that May.

The two fell behind on their rent, and their landlord told them to leave a month later after finding the property neglected.

The jury heard that the landlord grew concerned and contacted police after noticing knives and wiring in the flat.

No explosives were uncovered in the residence, but police found evidence of plans to drop “some sort of harmful device” from a drone, Ms Whyte said.

Camouflage clothing and a variety of bladed articles were discovered, as well as clothing and cardboard allegedly slashed in preparation for an attack.

Mr Muhammad was said to have owned a drone, and the jury heard his phone had been used to research explosives and download jihadist videos glorifying terror attacks.

According to the Crown, Mr Muhammad’s plans were “imminent”.

Both men’s wives were in Senegal, and Mr Ahmad was alleged to have messaged his spouse with concerns about his cousin’s plans.

The jury heard testimony from a police officer who attended the flat and believed that he saw bomb components.

Mr Muhammad faces a charge of “engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism”, while Mr Ahmad, is charged with one count of having information that he knew or believed might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of an act of terrorism by another person and failing to notify the authorities.

The trial continues on Monday.

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