Woman among three accused of ‘supporting terrorism’ by displaying images of airborne Hamas fighters embarking on murder spree in Israel
: Jonathan Brady/PA
A woman who carried a placard showing a Hamas paraglider at a pro-Palestine march thought that it was a “symbol of liberation and peace”, a court heard.
Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, along with Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, were charged under the Terrorism Act following the protest in central London on Oct 14.
The incident happened a week after Hamas fighters who used paragliders to cross the border between Gaza and Israel were among the terrorists who tortured and killed 1,400 Israeli men, women and children in a series of massacres.
‘Reasonable suspicion they support terror group’
They are charged with “carrying or displaying an article, namely an image displaying a paraglider, to arouse reasonable suspicion that they are supporters of a proscribed organisation, namely Hamas”.
Brett Weaver, prosecuting, told Westminster magistrates’ court that a week after the Hamas terror attack in Israel, “there was a large demonstration in central London in support of the Palestinian people in Gaza”.
The march took place between Oxford Circus and Whitehall.
Mr Weaver continued: “These three defendants were part of that demonstration. Each had on or about their person an image of a paraglider.
“Since the use of paragliders by Hamas was widely publicised, the prosecution’s case is that these defendants displaying images of paragliders in those circumstances would arouse reasonable suspicion that they were a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.”
‘Found through police plea’
Ms Ankunda and Ms Alhayek had the images stuck to their backs, while Ms Taiwo was carrying a placard with a picture of a paraglider, the court heard.
Ms Ankunda was filmed on video chanting: “France is a terror state, the UK is a terror state, Italy is a terror state.”
The three women were arrested after police launched an appeal to identify them through the media.
Ms Ankunda and Ms Alhayek attended Croydon Police Station, south-east London, and initially claimed that someone else had stuck the images to their backs but later made a statement accepting that was not the case.
“They stated that they did not see the images as being supportive of Hamas,” said Mr Weaver
Ms Taiwo was arrested on Nov 8 after police officers forced their way into her house.
When they entered, they found Ms Alhayek, Ms Ankunda and a fourth woman in her living room.
‘Handed the placard’
Ms Taiwo was arrested and taken to Hammersmith Police Station.
“She denied being a member of Hamas or any proscribed organisation,” said the prosecution.
“She accepted that she was present at the demonstration on Oct 14 and was handed the placard while she was there.
“She had not paid attention to what was fixed to the placard as it was a blurry image. She said she believed it to be a symbol of liberation and peace.”
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