Sunderland dad refused to answer police when asked if he supported Isis, terror trial hears
A jury has heard how a civil engineering worker accused of posting Isis videos on his Facebook page avoided answering if he supported the group when first interviewed by police.
Abdulrahman Alcharbati made 110 references to martyrdom and the proscribed terrorist organisation on his open social media profile and, in the space of one day last February, posted links to six videos.
The married dad, who is originally from Syria, had a copy of a manual titled Easy Explosives 4th edition on how to make improvised explosive devices, specifically suicide bomb vests, downloaded onto his mobile phone.
When the 31-year-old was arrested at his home in Noble Street, Sunderland, last May he told officials: "I just posted the news."
During the second day of his evidence, prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds told Newcastle Crown Court how Alcharbati's answers about Isis during his first three police interviews were different to those given when he later received legal representation.
Mr Pawson-Pounds asked Alcharbati why he appeared to avoid answering whether he supported Islamic State during the earlier interviews.
Alcharbati said: "I thought I was being asked about the different terrorist factions in Syria.
"I mustn't have understood the person who was asking the question, they didn't specifically ask me do you support Islamic State.
"They are a terrorist organisation, they did a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom. I respect the rules of the United Kingdom. I'm living in the United Kingdom."
Alcharbati later went on to say that he didn't have his bipolar medication during the interviews and he was very confused.
'I don't class the people who are fighting as terrorists'
When he was asked by Mr Pawson-Pounds if he supports Islamic State, Alcharbati said: "Of course I don't sir, they are a terrorist organisation, sir. In the interview I was under so much pressure I didn't understand the questions asked to me."
Mr Pawson-Pounds asked Alcharbati why he did not ask for an interpreter and pointed out how his masters degree was taught in English.
Alcharbati replied: "I should have asked for an interpreter, sir."
When asked by Mr Pawson-Pounds if he believed President Assad and those who support him are evil, Alcharbati replied: "The government, yes sir."
Alcharbati agreed when Mr Pawson-Pounds asked him if Islamic State fight against President Assad.
Mr Pawson-Pounds asked Alcharbati if he believed Syrians or people fighting with them on their side have no other choice but to use suicide bombs and create martyrs against President Assad, his government, his soldiers and his officers and if it is justified.
Alcharbati replied by saying: "In my personal opinion, yes sir."
When Mr Pawson-Pounds asked if it was to be celebrated, Alcharbati replied: "Yes sir. Just the people of Syria not the terrorists.
"The people of Syria have no food or water, nothing to defend themselves against these massacres.
"I don't class the people who are fighting as terrorists, never, ever sir."
Alcharbati later backtracked when asked again about celebrating suicide attacks.
He said: "I said martyrdom in general not suicide attacks.
"I said you corner them into a corner and they would kill themselves. But I didn't say celebrate them. I said celebrate martyrdom, the Syrian people.
"If you put them in a corner without weapons and food the result would be they would blow themselves up. I would excuse them for that.
"It would be a very, very sad thing sir. Why would I celebrate it sir?"
When asked if the actions of the suicide bombers in one for the videos he posted were justified he replied, "No sir.".
'Looking for news about Syria'
Alcharbati told the jury how he visited chat rooms where terrorism was being discussed on social media app Telegram to look for news about Syria.
He said: "Sometimes people enter the chat and talk about bad things, it's not my fault, sir.
"I didn't participate. These are people saying bad things, I was looking for news about Syria.
"These are public chat rooms, people can write anything they want, I can't control what people say in these chat rooms.
"I was looking for news about Syria. I don't know what they were going to talk about."
Alcharbati told the court that if somebody had asked him a direct question in the chat room he would have responded.
Mr Pawson-Pounds asked Alcharbati why he did not comment on his Facebook posts condemning the actions of Islamic State.
Alcharbati said: "I live in the UK, why would I want to support terrorist organisations?
"If somebody made a comment I would have responded but nobody did."
'I thought of myself as the one who was going to save the world, sir'
When asked about the six videos he posted on his Facebook profile, Alcharbati said he was documenting the news and that he wasn't well as he hadn't been taking his bipolar medication.
When discussing the video he posted of a rapper who became a suicide bomber, Alcharbati said: "It's telling you how he went from that stage of life into being a suicide bomber. Which is controversial."
Mr Pawson-Pounds suggested it was encouraging terrorism and asked why he wasn't condemning him, Alcharbati said: "This is a critical analysis of what he did, sir."
When asked about the video he posted which encouraged violence against 'unbelievers', Alcharbati said: "I posted this video to expose these terrorists. I don't want anybody to do any act of terrorism."
Mr Pawson-Pounds asked Alcharbati if he accepted people watching this video after he posted it may have viewed it as encouraging acts of terrorism.
Mr Alcharbati replied: "They might have."
Mr Pawson-Pounds asked Alcharbati why he told Facebook, after they blocked his account, that he had contacted other organisations such as change.org and threatened them with legal action.
Alcharbati said: "I'm thinking of myself, how I am going to solve the world problems.
"I thought of myself as the one who was going to save the world, sir."
Alcharbati told the court during evidence he was not aware that having the explosives manual on his mobile phone was illegal.
However Mr Pawson-Pounds pointed out that he was asked the same question in his police interview and responded: "I, errr, definitely."
Alcharbati denies six offences of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of possessing a document containing terrorist information and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court. The trial continues.