England

Men 'used Syria-bound aid convoys to move terror items'

Four men used aid convoys bound for Syria to transport items that would be used to commit terrorism offences, a court heard.

Syed Hoque, of Stoke-on-Trent, allegedly sent £4,500 to his nephew, who was fighting against the regime.

Mr Hoque, 37; Pervez Rafiq, 46, of Birkby, Huddersfield; and Mashoud Miah, 27, and Mohammed Hussain, 30, both of east London; are accused of making "other property" available.

They all deny the charge.

The four are accused of making the property available between 1 December 2012 and 31 May 2014. Mr Hoque denies a further two counts of funding terrorism.

Terror wing

Prosecuting, Annabel Darlow QC said the defendants "made use, or so it would appear, of aid convoys", but said it was not suggested that the convoys did not have a legitimate charitable purpose.

Mohammed Choudhury, Mr Hoque's nephew, was fighting on behalf of a terrorist organisation representing the wing of Al-Qaeda in Syria, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Hoque and Mr Choudhury had discussed the possibility of buying a Dragunov sniper rifle, an AK assault rifle and a nightscope, the court was told.

It is alleged Mr Miah's role was that of a facilitator who could be turned to when an address or contact was required.

Analysis showed Mr Hoque had been communicating via WhatsApp with a person known as Sayyaf.

'Military conflict'

This man was later found to be Mr Choudhury, the court heard.

Ms Darlow said Mr Hoque was aware his nephew was "engaged in military conflict and that he sought... the death... of the Syrian president" and "actively encouraged" Mr Choudhury.

But she said on occasions he had to rein in some of Mr Choudhury's "worst excesses".

She stated: "In the course of one particularly graphic exchange, [he advised] him to behead his enemies in Syria, but [suggested] he should draw the line at mutilating their bodies."

The trial continues.

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