UK

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary given bail

Anjem Choudary Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anjem Choudary appeared via video link from high security Belmarsh prison

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary has been granted conditional bail as he awaits trial for allegedly encouraging support for the Islamic State group.

The 48-year-old's co-defendant, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, 32, was also bailed by a judge at the Old Bailey.

Both men - who face trial next year - appeared by video link from Belmarsh prison in south London.

During an earlier hearing they indicated they would be pleading not guilty.

Mr Justice Saunders said he had not found the decision easy.

"I am not persuaded in either case that there are substantial grounds for believing that either defendant will fail to surrender to custody," he said.

"I have been much more concerned to whether there are substantial grounds for believing that they will commit further offences.

"I am concerned about anything being disseminated publicly by either of them, or on their behalf, which would encourage others to go to live in Syria as part of their religious duty."

'Reduce risk'

He added: "I do consider that the conditions of bail proposed will substantially reduce the risk of dissemination of those views."

He said both men should be carefully monitored and returned to court if bail conditions are breached.

Mr Choudary, from Ilford in east London, and Mr Rahman, from Whitechapel in east London, have been charged with inviting support for so-called Islamic State between 29 June 2014 and 6 March 2015 by posting on social media.

The men have already spent months on police bail following their arrest last September. They were remanded in custody after they were charged.

Mr Choudary and Mr Rahman are due back in court for a plea and case management hearing on 11 December, with a provisional trial date set for 11 January 2016.

The trial is scheduled to be heard by a High Court judge and is expected to last three to four weeks.

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