London: London: British Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary was remanded in custody by a UK magistrate after London’s Metropolitan police charged him with three terrorism offences. Choudary, 56, faces charges of belonging to a proscribed organization, addressing meetings to encourage support for a proscribed organization, and directing a terrorist organization, the force said.
A 28-year-old Canadian, Khaled Hussein, was also ordered held in custody after he was charged with membership of a proscribed organization. Both appeared separately at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, which heard that the charges relate to “an extreme form of Islam”.
“The charges relate to the proscribed organization al-Muhajiroun, also known as the Islamic Thinkers Society,” prosecutor Nick Price said.
“Criminal proceedings against Choudary and Hussein are now active and they each have the right to a fair trial,” he added. Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring ordered the pair remanded in custody and set their next appearance, at the central criminal courthouse known as the Old Bailey, on August 4.
Choudary, from east London, wore a black jacket and glasses and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth, and address during a 30-minute court hearing. The high-profile preacher was not asked to enter any pleas to the three charges.
A lawyer for Hussein, who is from Edmonton in the Canadian province of Alberta, said he would not be entering a plea. The defendant spoke — in a Canadian accent — only to confirm his name, date of birth, and address.
He is alleged to have been in “close contact” with Choudary online to provide “a platform” for the group’s views for around two years, the court heard. Counter-terror officers investigating alleged membership of the proscribed organization arrested both men last week, the Metropolitan police said.
Officers detained Choudary in east London and held Hussein at Heathrow Airport after he arrived on a flight.