Sunderland terror suspect tells jurors he believes he is a 'Messiah'

An engineer on trial for terrorism offences has told jurors he is mentally ill and believes he is a "messiah".

Tuesday, 16th October 2018, 4:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th October 2018, 4:33 pm
The trial is being held at Newcastle Crown Court

Abdulrahman Alcharbati made 400 different postings onto his Facebook news feed between January 24 and February 26 last year and a total of 110 of them referred to Islamic State or martyrdom, it is claimed.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 32-year-old 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.

The court heard, despite the bans, the 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.

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Prosecutors say the videos, which show men in military uniform being murdered, praise martyrs and promote suicide bombings, could "encourage the watcher to commit acts of terrorism".

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

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, which he denies.

The former Sunderland University student has now told jurors he has a long history of mental illness and was admitted to psychiatric hospital in 2008.

He told jurors since that time, he has believed he is a "prophet" or "Messiah".

Alcharbati told the court: "I still believe I am a messiah, I still believe I am Jesus Christ, it just came to me that day in 2008."

He added: "I hide it, I keep it suppressed from people.

"They would think this man is crazy, No-one would talk to me."

Alcharbati has told jurors he has ended up on trial in front of them because of his mental state.

He said: "I am coming here in front of you to tell you I was ill when this incident happened.

"If you want to believe me, believe me.

"If you don't want to believe me, this is your own choice, your own judgement."

Alcharbati, who has been diagnosed as being bi-polar told jurors he has tried to hide his mental illness and not comply with medication over the years.

He said: "All of my life in have been denying this, not been complying with medication, just because I don't want people to call me crazy or label me as someone who is ill but now, I am coming here and saying it out loud, I am ill.

"I am a mentally ill man.

"I need the medication to be reasonable, to stay normal, to be like everyone else."

Alcharbati told jurors he took longer than other students to complete his degree, which he finished in Turkey, and to achieve his Master of Science in engineering management at Sunderland due to his illness.

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

He denies all charges against him.

The trial continues.