Londoners convicted of 'supporting terrorist group' after displaying Hamas paragliders images at protest

Three London women were spared jail time after they were convicted on Tuesday of supporting a terrorist group when the Muslim judge presiding over their case declared their lesson had been "well learned."

Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, and Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27 were given 12-month conditional discharges for displaying images of paragliders at a protest, reminiscent of the Hamas militant paragliders that descended upon a music festival in Israel October 7 just a week before. The attack resulted in the slaughter of around 1,200 Israelis.

Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram at Westminster Magistrates' Court said he "decided not to punish" them, The Independent reports.

Ikram described himself as a "proud Muslim" in a 2018 profile from The Sun.

After the Met Police became aware of the imagery being displayed on the perpetrators' backs and signs, they launched a social media appeal to apprehend them.

Alhayek and Ankunda handed themselves into Croydon Police Station but first tried to claim that someone else had stuck the images to their backs before admitting they attached them themselves.

Alhayek, Ankunda and Taiwo were charged under the Terrorism Act with carrying or displaying an article to arouse reasonable suspicion that they are supporters of banned organisation Hamas.

Prosecutor Brett Weaver told the court: "The displaying of these images could be viewed as celebrating the use of the paragliders tactic."

However the defense attorney for Alhayek and Ankunda, Mark Summers KC, tried to argue that the trio were simply displaying a parachute emoji meant to be a "symbol of peace."

Ikram agreed with Summers in his verdict, declaring the image had been "wrongly described" as a paraglider by the police and prosecution.

However, he said "seven days earlier, Hamas went into Israel with what was described by the media as paragliders. A reasonable person would have seen and read that.


"I do not find a reasonable person would interpret the image merely as a symbol of freedom.

"You've not hidden the fact you were carrying these images. You crossed the line, but it would have been fair to say that emotions ran very high on this issue. Your lesson has been well learnt.

"I do not find you were seeking to show any support for Hamas."

Reacting to the verdict, Nick Price of the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division said: “All three women knowingly displayed the images of paragliders in central London and therefore showed their support for Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation.

“The fact that these images were being displayed in the context of a protest opposing the Israeli response to the Hamas attacks demonstrates a glorification of the actions taken by the group.

“Displaying these images could be viewed as celebrating the use of paragliders as a tactic to breach the Gaza/Israel border, and creates a risk of encouraging others to support Hamas.

“When people break the law, whether by hateful speech, supporting proscribed organisations or by threatening public order, we prosecute swiftly and independently.

“We have already prosecuted a string of offences linked to events in the Middle East and we are working closely with the police and community leaders to make sure our approach commands public confidence.”


Image: Title: hamas paragliders
ADVERTISEMENT

Opinion

View All

5 migrants dead after attempting to enter UK by sea hours after Parliament passes Rwanda plan

The incident happened after around 112 passengers being transported on a small boat began to panic an...

UK to ship migrants to Rwanda after paying nation to take illegal asylum seekers

The total cost to the UK taxpayer has been calculated at $2.5 million per immigrant....

JAIMEE MARSHALL: Leftist brainrot can put you in prison, now

Enough is enough; now’s the time to establish that there are consequences to holding polite society h...

JACK POSOBIEC and DARREN BEATTIE: Don't lose sight of how 'fundamentally stupid' the lawfare against Trump is

"It's an embarrassment to the whole country, that this is happening in the first place."...