Sunderland engineer on terror charges accused Facebook of 'participating' in atrocities


A civil engineer on trial for using social media to encourage terrorism accused Facebook of "participating" in atrocities by "covering the truth" when they shut down his account, a court has heard.

Abdulrahman Alcharbati made 110 references to matryrdom and terrorist group ISIS on his open social media page and was arrested after he posted six extremist videos in one day last February, jurors have been told.

The 31-year-old had a copy of a manual entitled "Easy Explosives 4th edition", on how to make improvised explosive devices, particularly suicide vests, downloaded on his mobile phone, it is claimed.

Married dad Alcharbati, of Noble Street, Sunderland, denies six offences of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of possessing a document containing terrorist information.

He is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Alcharbati told police when he was arrested last May he had "just posted the news" and denies being an extremist.

Prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds has told jurors Alcharbati's account was permanently closed by Facebook bosses last March, for posting material considered by them to "contain credible threats to users and or information in support of violent organisations and or exceedingly graphic content".

Jurors have been shown samples of e-mail correspondence between Alcharbati and Facebook employees between December 2016 and March 2017, in response to his account being repeatedly deactivated and reactivated during those months.

In the emails, Alcharbati is repeatedly told by Facebook representatives that his posts have violated the company's terms of use, which are designed to protect the "comfort and safety" of people who use it and that his account would be deactivated.

In a series of responses, which appear to have led to his account's repeated reactivation, Alcharbati states he needs access to his account as it contained vital documentation and information needed for his career, to help him get the work needed to support his family and that he was "sharing news".

During one email, sent last December, Alcharbati tells the Facebook empoyee: "I do not support any violent organisations.

"I was sharing news regarding atrocities being done in Syria. No-one is doing any action."

Alcharbati said he was trying to be "the voice" for children killed by terrorism.

In an email sent just days after the extremist videos were posted on his page and his account was once again deactivated, Alcharbati emailed Facebook and said; "You are participating, inadvertently, in these crimes by covering the truth and hiding the evidence that condemns those criminals who kill innocent babies."

A few days after that, Alcharbati sent another email to Facebook, and said he had been in contact with "internatonal organisations" about Facebook "covering evidence" and talked about "starting court proceedings against Facebook in the UK".

The trial continues.