'I'm no Marvel villain' says Bristol terror defendant

Image caption,
Souhaib Embarek was arrested when police raided his home in Bristol

A man found with bomb-making manuals and speeches on Islamic State has told a court he is "not a terrorist".

Souhaib Embarek was caught sharing "terrorist tutorials" and had videos and images of terrorist attacks.

He admits five charges of possession of information useful to a terrorist, and one of disseminating terror documents, on the basis he was "reckless".

"I'm not the guy the prosecution is trying to make me - some Marvel villain," he told the Old Bailey.

On Tuesday, during a hearing to decide the issue of his intent, Embarek insisted it was all a "fantasy game".

The court heard he had poison recipes, speeches on Islamic State and had shared jihadi "lessons" in the form of audio files via encrypted Telegram chat.

The 34-year-old was arrested after firearms officers forced entry into his home in Clifton, Bristol, on 9 December 2019.

"All this digital stuff is just a game. I'm not attached to it because it doesn't mean anything to me," he said.

'A committed sympathiser'

The defendant said he would take on the role of "investigative journalist" online and claimed he was the "victim".

The court heard Embarek threw his mobile phone out of his bedroom window when armed police raided his home.

Asked why, he said: "I thought it was some hitman coming to kill me."

And asked if he intended to encourage terrorism, he said: "Absolutely not. I highly condemn those acts."

He told Judge Philip Katz QC: "Trust me, your honour, I'm not a terrorist."

Prosecutor Joel Smith said the evidence suggests Embarek is a "committed believer and sympathiser" with radical Islamic theology.

Embarek, from Tyndale Court in Bristol, gave his evidence via video link from prison and will be sentenced a later date.

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