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‘Selfie terrorist’ arrested at Stansted airport wanted to fight for Isis in Syria

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Aweys Shikhey will be sentenced in March PHOTO Metropolitan Police

IB TIMES — A man arrested at a London airport has been found guilty of trying to join Isis. Police swooped on Aweys Shikhey, 38, as he tried to board a flight from Stansted to Turkey, where he hoped to make his way to Syria and fight for the so-called caliphate.

Shortly before his arrest, Shikhey took a selfie in the terminal, hoping to look like a normal tourist.

The Dutch-Somali national worked as a delivery driver for DPD, and had a wife and children living in Holland, who were unaware of his radicalisation.

“To his friends and colleagues Shikhey was, on the face of it, leading a normal life here in London,” said Met Commander Dean Haydon.

“But he was a supporter of Daesh and had for about a year been planning how he could leave the UK and travel out to join Daesh.”

The Met’s counter terror unit opened an investigation after receiving a tip-off from Kenyan authorities. Shikhey had been communicating online for almost a year with a fellow extremist based in Kenya.

They discussed plans to attack Jews in London’s Stamford Hill area, gun-down Tottenham Hotspur supporters and even kill the Queen or prime minister David Cameron.

After monitoring his communications, officers determined that he was not planning to launch an attack in the UK but was in fact keen to join Isis in its Syrian heartlands.

In May 2017 Shikhey booked a flight from Stansted to Sarajevo, via Istanbul. After checking-in at Stansted for the first leg of the flight to Turkey, officers arrested him before he could board the plane.

“Thanks to the information we received from the Kenyan authorities and the good work here by my detectives thereafter, we have been able to thwart his attempts and stop him from joining Daesh and committing terrorist acts over there,” said Haydon.

On his arrest, Shikhey had in his possession a number of mobile phones, and over £1,000 cash in different currencies.

In the weeks leading up to the flight, he applied for a number of loans after being advised by the collaborator in Kenya that he would need “more money” to realise his ambition of joining Daesh. The other extremist also advised Shikhey to take the selfie at Stansted.

He was able to secure a loan for £10,000, claiming it was to pay for a wedding. But in reality, he was gathering as much money as possible to fund his travel and terrorist activity once he reached Syria.

Shikhey, of north London, was found guilty on 20 February at the Old Bailey of preparing for acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on Thursday, 15 March.

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Taxi driver arranged for daughter, 7, to have FGM, Bristol court told

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THE GUARDIAN — A father from Bristol arranged for his seven-year-old daughter to undergo a female genital mutilation procedure and told a charity worker the practice was carried out in his culture to prevent women from “feeling sexy all the time”, a jury has heard.

The man, who is of Somali origin, allegedly explained to the charity worker: “I did the small one to my daughter, other people did the big one, I did the small one.”

Bristol crown court was told the prosecution was not suggesting that the man, a 29-year-old taxi driver, carried out the FGM procedure himself but that someone in the community had done it. The man denies child cruelty.

At the start of the trial, the judge, Julian Lambert, checked that no jurors were active campaigners against FGM. He also warned the seven women and five men that the subject of FGM could incite very strong feelings.

Anna Vigars QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “The case concerns … a practice that is illegal in this country and is becoming illegal in countries around the world. But there are communities in African and the Middle East where it is common.”

Vigars said it was a procedure that was not medically necessary but sent out the “loud and clear” message that a girl was not in a “satisfactory condition” when she was born. “It’s a practice to keep young girls and women in their place,” she said. In this case the idea had been to mark the girl, she added.

The barrister said that in March 2016, Sami Ullah, a man working for the Bristol charity Integrate, which campaigns against FGM, was picked up by the father, an Uber driver.

Ullah began to chat with the driver and asked him whether he knew what FGM was. He did not know so Ullah used the Somali word: “Sunna”. The driver allegedly made a cross sign with his finger and said: “You mean cut”, the jury was told. He went on to say that many people in his culture did it but it was wrong. He went on to say his daughter had had the “small one” but lots of people had the “big cut”, the court heard.

After the journey, Ullah reported what had happened when police and officers visited the defendant’s family home in Bristol. His seven-year-old daughter was examined and a small lesion spotted. Vigars said it was an “unusual mark” in a part of the body that was “particularly well protected”.

When the girl was re-examined later the leison had healed. Vigars said this suggested she was not born with the mark but it had been put there.

The defendant denied anything had been done to his daughter when he was interviewed by police. Vigars said: “Nobody is saying he did this himself” but someone in the community had done it – and he had allowed his daughter to be exposed to harm.

Vigars added: “Nobody is suggesting [the defendant] is not a good father. His children are a credit to him and his wife … It doesn’t alter the fact that he exposed her to a painful procedure.”

The child had been burnt, pricked, cauterised or damaged in one of the body’s most sensitive areas, the barrister said. “He had responsibly for her as a father. He exposed her to this.”

In the witness box Ullah said: “He [the defendant] told me he had got it done in an area of Bristol. I asked him if he knew it was illegal, he replied it was culture and tradition, some people do it, some people don’t.

“He told me that he had got it done to his daughter and there were [places] where you could get it done. He said, around the facility of the health centre.

“He asked do you know why we do it and before giving me the chance to reply, he said: ‘So women don’t feel sexy all the time.’”

The trial continues.

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LONDON: Crowd pickets Wormwood Scrubs demanding justice following death of inmate

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GET WEST LONDON — More than two weeks on from the fatal stabbing of a young man in his Wormwood Scrubs prison cell a large crowd gathered outside the Shepherd’s Bush institution to protest.

Khader Ahmed Sahel, 25, was of Somali origin and his sudden death on January 31 has shocked and angered a tight knit community who believe it could have been prevented.

On Thursday (February 15) Khader’s mother, Amima Duleah, and his older brother, Said Yusuf, both from Northolt, Ealing, were among those to picket the prison’s gates in Du Cane Road, demanding justice.

Following his death Khader’s 20-year-old wife Salma has been left to bring up their two-year-old son, Ahmed, alone.

Speaking to getwestlondon Mr Yusuf, 29, described the last time he visited his brother in prison, he said: “His state was a bit bad, you could see the violence from his body – he’d been in fights inside

“He was mentioning that there was no safety inside and that there was neglect from the guards.

“He was scared inside the prison – for his life.”

He added: “We want justice for him and we would like for this prison to either be closed or to be fixed so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

The protest was organised by Somali campaigning group Gaashaan, which has set up a petition asking the Ministry of Justice to combat the issue of violence in prisons and reassess the safety of inmates in institutions across the country.

Speaking to getwestlondon, Gaashaan leader Sahel Ali said: “We are coming together to protest against the brutal stabbing of an inmate of Somali ethnic background, Khader Sahel.

“Khader was 25 years old, he was at the beginning of his life, he left behind a family and a child.”
Salma Hassan, has been widowed aged 20 after her husband was fatally stabbed in Wormwood Scrubs prison on January 31 (Image: Salma Hassan)

He added: “There is nothing wrong with locking up people who commit crimes or break the law of the land but what we are unhappy, angry about and against is that people’s safety inside jails has been compromised.

“And this happened a month after a report was published highlighting a surge in prison violence – that is what people are angry about today.”

A prison inspection in December revealed a high surge in violence on top of chronic staff shortages and lack of food at Wormwood Scrubs.

Following the report Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said it painted “an extremely concerning picture.”

Wormwood Scrubs inmates Ahmed Khayre, 21, Enton Marku, 20, and Khalif Dibbassey, 21, all appeared at the Old Bailey charged with Mr Saleh’s murder on Tuesday (February 6).

The Recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard QC, remanded all three defendants in custody.

Dutch national Mr Khayre, of HMP Belmarsh, British national Mr Marku, of HMP Wandsworth, and French national Mr Dibbassey, of HMP High Down, will return to court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on April 24.

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