Married Sunderland dad posted Isis propaganda on Facebook 'to encourage terrorism', court told

A Facebook user posted Islamic State propaganda videos on his News Feed to encourage acts of terrorism, despite previously being banned from the social media site, a court heard.

Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 3:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 3:43 pm
Abdulrahman Alcharbati is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Engineer Abdulrahman Alcharbati had been repeatedly warned that his "extremist" postings about the conflict in Syria contravened the social media site's rules and had his account suspended on occasions, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Despite the bans, the 32-year-old married dad, who is originally from Syria, posted six "terrorist publications" on his profile, which had 5,000 friends, in the course of one day in February last year.

Alcharbati lived in Noble Street, Sunderland. Picture: Google Maps.

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The court also heard that the "terrorist" videos showed men in military uniform being murdered in "revenge attacks", praised "martyrs" and showed "happy children" being raised and trained in Syria. They also supported "suicide bombers".

Prosecutors say the videos could "encourage the watcher to commit acts of terrorism".

After counter-terrorism police raided his home at Noble Street, Sunderland, officers seized his phone and found a bomb-making manual titled "Easy Explosives", the court heard.

Alcharbati told police "I just posted the news" and is now on trial accused of six offences of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of possession of a document containing terrorist information.

Prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds told the court Alcharbati had put just under 400 different postings on his profile page between Januuary 24 and February 26 last year.

Jurors heard 70 of the posts referred to Islamic State and 40 directly referred to martyrdom.

Mr Pawson-Pounds told the court: "Not only did the defendant know he was posting extremist material at the time, he was told he was doing so, in clear terms, by the administrators at Facebook.

"He was repeatedly warned he was posting material that contravened Facebook guidelines and kept having his account suspended as a result.

"Contravening guidelines is not a criminal offence. The relevance here is he had been warned about the nature of the material he was posting.

"Despite the material, he was able to convince Facebook to reinstate his account before carrying on in exactly the same way as before.

"His account was finally and permanently closed in mid March last year, a month after he posted the video links that form the subject of the material on the indictment."

Alcharbati told detectives, during eight separate interviews, that he was not a terrorist and was merely "reporting the news from the middle east".

Mr Pawson-Pounds added: "He said he condemned terrorism and posted material to discourage others from committing such acts, quite opposite to what the crown say his intention was."

The court heard Alcharbati has been on trial for the offences before but the proceedings were halted when a lawyer in the case took ill before the jury could consider any verdicts.

He denies all charges against him and the trial continues.