MP 'took up case of accused bomb plotter prior to arrest'

Margaret Becket Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption In August 2016, Munir Mohammed turned to Margaret Beckett for help his case.

An MP took up an asylum seeker's case months before his arrest for allegedly plotting a UK attack, a court heard.

Derby South MP Margaret Beckett was in contact with the immigration department about Munir Mohammed's status before he allegedly embarked on his so-called Islamic State-inspired plan.

In August 2016, the 36-year-old turned to Mrs Beckett for help with his case after arriving in 2014.

Mr Mohammed is on trial at the Old Bailey.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Munir Mohammed and Rowaida El-Hassan met on a dating website

Mr Mohammed had claimed asylum in February 2014 after coming into Britain in the back of a lorry, but his case had not been decided more than two years later, leaving him in limbo, unable to legally work.

When Mrs Beckett tried to help with his case, she was informed by authorities that his case was "not straightforward" and had been referred to a "specialist unit for consideration", the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Mohammed is on trial for allegedly embarking on a plan for a bomb or ricin atrocity, along with chemist Rowaida El-Hassan, who he allegedly recruited to help him.

The court previously heard how the couple met on dating site

Previously, the trial has heard how divorcees Mr Mohammed and Ms El-Hassan had a "rapidly formed emotional attachment and a shared ideology", despite living in Derby and London.

Mr Mohammed also made contact with a so-called Islamic State commander and volunteered to carry out a terror attack in Britain, the prosecution alleges.

But giving evidence, Mr Mohammed denied being an Islamic extremist loyal to IS and said he was not planning acts of terrorism in the UK.

Charles Bott QC, defending, asked: "Have you ever supported the aims and objectives of Islamic State?"

Mr Mohammed, who gave evidence with the help of an interpreter, replied: "No. They are outside the orbit of Islam."

Mr Mohammed, of Leopold Street, Derby, and Ms El-Hassan, 33, of Willesden Lane, north-west London, deny preparing terrorist acts between November 2015 and December 2016.

The trial continues.

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