Britain convicts Muslim cleric of inciting support for Islamic State

A well-known radical cleric and one his followers were convicted of encouraging support for a banned organisation after they swore allegiance to Islamic State, a British court announced Tuesday.

Preacher Anjem Choudary, 49, who had long been accused of spreading Islamist extremist ideology, had "invited support for a proscribed terrorist organisation [Islamic State]," contrary to Britain's Terrorism Act, from mid-2014 to early 2015, prosecutors said.

His follower, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 33, was convicted on the same charges, which both men denied.

The two men were convicted in late July, but the ruling was made public only on Tuesday due to reporting restrictions. They are scheduled to be sentenced on September 6.

Choudary had previously avoided prosecution, despite his high-profile support for the banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun and the conviction of several of his supporters on terrorism-related charges.

"Over and over again we have seen people on trial for the most serious offences who have attended lectures or speeches given by these men," said Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism division, adding that the two had "stayed just within the law for many years."

"This has been a significant prosecution in our fight against terrorism, and we will now be working with communities to ensure that they are not replaced by others spreading hate," Haydon said in a statement following Tuesday's announcement.

Last update: Tue, 16/08/2016 - 18:45
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