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‘Selfie terrorist’ arrested at Stansted airport wanted to fight for Isis in Syria



Aweys Shikhey will be sentenced in March PHOTO Metropolitan Police

IB TIMES — A man arrested at a London airport has been found guilty of trying to join Isis. Police swooped on Aweys Shikhey, 38, as he tried to board a flight from Stansted to Turkey, where he hoped to make his way to Syria and fight for the so-called caliphate.

Shortly before his arrest, Shikhey took a selfie in the terminal, hoping to look like a normal tourist.

The Dutch-Somali national worked as a delivery driver for DPD, and had a wife and children living in Holland, who were unaware of his radicalisation.

“To his friends and colleagues Shikhey was, on the face of it, leading a normal life here in London,” said Met Commander Dean Haydon.

“But he was a supporter of Daesh and had for about a year been planning how he could leave the UK and travel out to join Daesh.”

The Met’s counter terror unit opened an investigation after receiving a tip-off from Kenyan authorities. Shikhey had been communicating online for almost a year with a fellow extremist based in Kenya.

They discussed plans to attack Jews in London’s Stamford Hill area, gun-down Tottenham Hotspur supporters and even kill the Queen or prime minister David Cameron.

After monitoring his communications, officers determined that he was not planning to launch an attack in the UK but was in fact keen to join Isis in its Syrian heartlands.

In May 2017 Shikhey booked a flight from Stansted to Sarajevo, via Istanbul. After checking-in at Stansted for the first leg of the flight to Turkey, officers arrested him before he could board the plane.

“Thanks to the information we received from the Kenyan authorities and the good work here by my detectives thereafter, we have been able to thwart his attempts and stop him from joining Daesh and committing terrorist acts over there,” said Haydon.

On his arrest, Shikhey had in his possession a number of mobile phones, and over £1,000 cash in different currencies.

In the weeks leading up to the flight, he applied for a number of loans after being advised by the collaborator in Kenya that he would need “more money” to realise his ambition of joining Daesh. The other extremist also advised Shikhey to take the selfie at Stansted.

He was able to secure a loan for £10,000, claiming it was to pay for a wedding. But in reality, he was gathering as much money as possible to fund his travel and terrorist activity once he reached Syria.

Shikhey, of north London, was found guilty on 20 February at the Old Bailey of preparing for acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on Thursday, 15 March.

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Two Somali men stabbed to death in north London as 2018 toll reaches 15



Two men have been stabbed to death within two hours of each other in the same London borough, bringing the number of people fatally wounded with knives in the capital in 2018 to at least 15.

The Metropolitan police launched two separate murder investigations into the killings on Tuesday night but said they had not ruled out the possibility of a link between them.

The first victim was found with stab wounds in Bartholomew Road, Camden, at about 8.30pm. He was pronounced dead at the scene. He was named by family members as 17-year-old Abdikarim Hassan.

Officers were later called to reports of a disturbance in Malden Road, Camden, at about 10.15pm, and found 20-year-old Sadiq Adan Mohamed with serious stab wounds. He was also pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests have been made.

Hassan came to the UK from Somalia when he was two years old and was the eldest of six children, his uncle Yusuf Ahmed said.

He was a student at Westminster college and was a “good guy” who was “always smiling” and liked playing football, he said.

Elsewhere in London, a 24-year-old man who was shot in the head in Westminster on Tuesday night remains in a critical condition in hospital. Two people were arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder.

Reacting to the most recent stabbings, Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “London must come together to make it clear that this cannot continue. We will not police our way out of this problem. There is a role for all of us – London’s public, our partners and the police.

“There will be young people out today who are carrying knives. Stop and think: do you really want your life to end?”

Police deployed extra patrols across Camden overnight, while a section 60 order – which gives police the right to search people in locations where they believe serious violence will take place – was in force until 7am on Wednesday.

Official figures show 2017 was among young people since at least 2002. Forty-six people aged 25 or under were stabbed to death in London, 21 more than the previous year, according to police figures.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who has faced criticism for his handling of knife crime, said: “This morning I am asking the prime minister and the home secretary to urgently meet with me, my deputy mayor for policing and the commissioner of the Metropolitan police service to discuss what more can be done across government – including policing, youth services, sentencing, health services, probation and prisons – to tackle the evil of knife attacks on Britain’s streets.”

The latest phase of a Met police operation to fight knife crime resulted in nearly 300 arrests and the seizure of more than 250 weapons. Throughout the week-long operation officers recovered 265 knives, six firearms, and 45 other offensive weapons.

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Father cleared after judge says evidence of FGM on six-year-old was ‘wholly inconclusive’



Detectives have promised to learn lessons after the groundbreaking trial of a father accused of allowing his six-year-old daughter to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) collapsed.

A judge at Bristol crown court ordered that the 29-year-old father be found not guilty of child cruelty and criticised aspects of the case against the man.

Outside court, police, who investigated the case for two years, said they fully accepted the decision but remained certain FGM was taking place in the UK and would continue to work to tackle the problem.

There was anger from friends and family of the father, who believed it was wrong to prosecute him, and outside court there was a minor scuffle between some of his supporters and anti-FGM campaigners.

The investigation was launched after a worker for the Bristol-based charity Integrate UK claimed the man, a private hire driver from the city, had told him during a short taxi ride that his daughter had undergone a “small” procedure.

Police were called and – more than two months later – the girl was examined by the designated doctor for safeguarding in Bristol.

The girl’s family insisted she had not undergone FGM but the doctor, Lindsey Mackintosh, reported a small lesion.

Mackintosh told the jury: “I was concerned that this may represent a form of FGM.” When the girl was examined nine weeks later by a consultant gynaecologist, nothing could be seen.

At the end of the prosecution case, Judge Julian Lambert agreed with the defence team that the man had no case to answer.

He described elements of the case against the father, who is of Somali origin, as “deeply troubling” and called the account of the key witness “inconsistent”. The jury was ordered to return a not guilty verdict.

There have been no successful FGM convictions in the UK. Afterwards, DCI Leanne Pook, Avon and Somerset police’s force lead for FGM, said she fully accepted the court’s findings.

Addressing the judge’s concerns, she said the time lapses were unavoidable. “We weren’t dawdling. There’s a whole host of complexities connected with this issue,” she said. “That’s not to say we shouldn’t keep trying. We’ll take some lessons from this and we’ll apply them next time.

“FGM remains a deeply entrenched practice and we know these harmful procedures are happening in this country right now. I will do my utmost not only to bring perpetrators to justice but to stop this from happening in the first place and give a safer future for younger girls affected by this issue.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) described the prosecution as “unusual and unprecedented”. A spokesperson said: “Where we feel there is sufficient evidence, and it is in the public interest to pursue, it is right that we put cases before the court so that a decision can be made by judge or jury.”

Lisa Zimmermann, the director of Integrate UK, said it was shameful that there had not been a successful FGM prosecution in the UK.

She said the case had been brought under child cruelty rather than specific FGM legislation, adding: “The CPS and safeguarding services must protect young girls by taking urgent and serious action to ensure that perpetrators feel the full force of the law. Where there is evidence of genital mutilation, the case must be prosecuted under the FGM act.”

The father left court without comment. The website Bristol Somali Media, a bilingual community site, tweeted that FGM was wrong – but activists and charities were wasting public money and destroying the lives of innocent families.

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Taxi driver arranged for daughter, 7, to have FGM, Bristol court told



THE GUARDIAN — A father from Bristol arranged for his seven-year-old daughter to undergo a female genital mutilation procedure and told a charity worker the practice was carried out in his culture to prevent women from “feeling sexy all the time”, a jury has heard.

The man, who is of Somali origin, allegedly explained to the charity worker: “I did the small one to my daughter, other people did the big one, I did the small one.”

Bristol crown court was told the prosecution was not suggesting that the man, a 29-year-old taxi driver, carried out the FGM procedure himself but that someone in the community had done it. The man denies child cruelty.

At the start of the trial, the judge, Julian Lambert, checked that no jurors were active campaigners against FGM. He also warned the seven women and five men that the subject of FGM could incite very strong feelings.

Anna Vigars QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “The case concerns … a practice that is illegal in this country and is becoming illegal in countries around the world. But there are communities in African and the Middle East where it is common.”

Vigars said it was a procedure that was not medically necessary but sent out the “loud and clear” message that a girl was not in a “satisfactory condition” when she was born. “It’s a practice to keep young girls and women in their place,” she said. In this case the idea had been to mark the girl, she added.

The barrister said that in March 2016, Sami Ullah, a man working for the Bristol charity Integrate, which campaigns against FGM, was picked up by the father, an Uber driver.

Ullah began to chat with the driver and asked him whether he knew what FGM was. He did not know so Ullah used the Somali word: “Sunna”. The driver allegedly made a cross sign with his finger and said: “You mean cut”, the jury was told. He went on to say that many people in his culture did it but it was wrong. He went on to say his daughter had had the “small one” but lots of people had the “big cut”, the court heard.

After the journey, Ullah reported what had happened when police and officers visited the defendant’s family home in Bristol. His seven-year-old daughter was examined and a small lesion spotted. Vigars said it was an “unusual mark” in a part of the body that was “particularly well protected”.

When the girl was re-examined later the leison had healed. Vigars said this suggested she was not born with the mark but it had been put there.

The defendant denied anything had been done to his daughter when he was interviewed by police. Vigars said: “Nobody is saying he did this himself” but someone in the community had done it – and he had allowed his daughter to be exposed to harm.

Vigars added: “Nobody is suggesting [the defendant] is not a good father. His children are a credit to him and his wife … It doesn’t alter the fact that he exposed her to a painful procedure.”

The child had been burnt, pricked, cauterised or damaged in one of the body’s most sensitive areas, the barrister said. “He had responsibly for her as a father. He exposed her to this.”

In the witness box Ullah said: “He [the defendant] told me he had got it done in an area of Bristol. I asked him if he knew it was illegal, he replied it was culture and tradition, some people do it, some people don’t.

“He told me that he had got it done to his daughter and there were [places] where you could get it done. He said, around the facility of the health centre.

“He asked do you know why we do it and before giving me the chance to reply, he said: ‘So women don’t feel sexy all the time.’”

The trial continues.

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