Friday, May 22, 2015

Girlfriend of British convert fighting in Syria replied 'You look beautiful' when she saw pictures of him with children waving AK-47s, court hears

  • Hana Khan, 23, accused of sending £1,000 to her fiance in Syria, jury told
  • She is accused, along with friend, Anton Atkins, of funding terrorism
  • Ms Khan allegedly enjoyed 'disturbing' pictures sent from Syrian front line
  • Her partner posed with children holding guns and in front of IS' black flag
The 'bride-to-be' of a British jihadi told him he 'looked beautiful' when he sent pictures of himself stood with ten-year-olds brandishing AK47 machine guns in Syria, a court heard .

Hana Khan, 23, also reacted with glee when she saw her fiance posing in front of the black Islamic State flag in Aleppo, it is alleged.

Khan is said to have sent her boyfriend, who cannot be named, £1,000 to fund his involvement in the fighting, the Old Bailey was told.

The jihadi was also bought a pair of combat trousers by his friend Anton Atkins, 31, who spent £1,600 on him, jurors heard.

Anton Atkins, 31, is accused of helping a British jihadi fighting in Syria
On trial: Hana Khan, 23, and Anton Atkins, 31, are accused of funding terrorism and helping a British jihadi fighting in Syria with cash and gifts
Both Khan and Atkins are accused of funding terrorism at the Old Bailey, which they deny.

Prosecutor Chris Hehir said: ‘The prosecution say that his reason for going to Syria was to join the ranks of rebel forces fighting the regime of President Assad.

‘His motivation in doing so was primarily a religious one. 

He had converted to Islam, and indeed changed his name, some time before leaving the United Kingdom. He went to Syria to fight alongside those sharing his religious outlook.

‘Both defendants are or were friends although Anton Atkins and Hana Khan did not know each other prior to the events with which this trial is concerned.

 They were both involved in providing and seeking to provide money and, in the case of Anton Atkins, seeking to provide an item of clothing, for his use in Syria.

‘The prosecution case is that both defendants knew very well why he had gone to Syria. They knew that he had gone there to fight: in other words to use or threaten serious violence in furtherance of a cause.

 They knew - or at the very least should have suspected- that anything they gave him materially might be used in furtherance of fighting, by him or others.’

The jihadi left the UK in July 2012 and crossed into Syria in June 2013 after passing through Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.

Allegations: Miss Khan is said to have said her fiance looked 'beautiful' in a photo of him posing with children holding guns
Allegations: Miss Khan is said to have said her fiance looked 'beautiful' in a photo of him posing with children holding guns
On June 2 2013 he sent Hana Khan three photographs of himself posing with small children under ten years old in Syria, near Aleppo.

Mr Hehir said: ‘They are profoundly disturbing images because a deadly weapon is being put in the hands of young children who smile as if it is a good thing to hold an AK-47 or similar weapon.

‘He clearly has very little respect for the innocence of children.’

Hana Khan responded with the message: ‘You look beautiful’, the court heard.

Mr Hehir added: ‘The prosecution suggest there is nothing beautiful about what he is doing in these photographs and the fact that Hana Khan viewed them as beautiful says quite a lot about her outlook. She was pleased to receive them.’

The jihadi also sent a photo of himself posing with a gun in front of a black Islamic flag to Atkins, the court heard. 

By 20 June 2013 he was asking Atkins for money using the WhatsApp messaging service. 
The jihadi said: ‘Get the loogah*As much as you can anyway* Beneficial*U know this*.’

Two days later the jihadi messaged Atkins about another woman he was planning to marry: ‘if all goes to plan*She is due to come in 3-4 weeks*So ur have to link her around them times if u can*But a soon as she books her ticket il let you know’.

In another message he referred to Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist group affiliated to Al Qaeda. 
The Old Bailey also heard how Atkins organised a shopping spree at Westfield in London to buy the combat trousers for his jihadi friend. 

Atkins allegedly organised the excursion to the shopping centre in Stratford, east London alongside Mohammed Chowdury, who was also friends with the jihadi and acted as a 'go-between', the court heard.  

Atkins has pleaded not guilty
Denial: Both Khan and Atkins, pictured at a previous hearing, are accused of funding terrorism at the Old Bailey but have pleaded not guilty
Mr Hehir told jurors: 'On 3rd July 2013 Mr Chowdury messages Anton Atkins to say that they needed to meet the following day and go to Westfield shopping centre.

'When Atkins asked why, Chowdury replied "Grab tings for my man. Just some combats".
'And that is a reference to combat trousers, and you may think knowing what we do about his friend, it's blindingly obvious why his man might want and need a pair of combat trousers.'

In the end, Atkins could not make the shopping trip, the court was told. But on July 4 telephone records show the jihadi had moved from Syria into Turkey in order to pick up money and supplies, it was claimed.

The same day, Chowdury allegedly messaged Atkins saying 'I'm going to go with another brother today to grab them thing... and then link you tomorrow... because the brother I'm going with today need to go their [sic] anyway so I will just go with him rather than burdening you habibi.'

The word habibi translates from Arabic as 'baby' or 'my darling'. 

The court heard how Atkins then picked up the trousers the following day to pass on to an unnamed individual planning to 'link' with the jihadi. 

By July 8 the jihadi had crossed the border into Turkey, where he could collect any money wired to him and pick up supplies, it is claimed.

That morning it is alleged Atkins messaged the jihadi, saying: 'Am I droppin' both to the bro leavin' tmrw today? Bats n p.' The prosecution said p referred to money.

The jihadi replied that Atkins should 'Speak to Asif,' Chowdury's middle name, adding: 'He knows wagwan,' meaning what is happening.

Mr Hehir said: 'The prosecution cannot say definitely who the combat trousers ended up reaching.

'But it is clear that Anton Atkins was heavily involved, in that they should be supplied to the jihadi he had been in conversation with.' 

Atkins, of Woolwich, southeast London, denies four charges of funding terrorism involving combat trousers and a total of £1,600.

Khan, of Willesden, northwest London, denies two charges of funding terrorism involving a total of £1,000.

The trial continues.

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