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'Three Musketeers' terror cell may have met with Anjem Choudary days before starting to plan Lee Rigby-style attack

Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz travelled to meet cleric as he awaited trial for supporting Isis

Henry Vaughan
Wednesday 02 August 2017 13:02 BST
Anjem Choudary has been linked to multiple terror plots and British Isis fighters in Syria
Anjem Choudary has been linked to multiple terror plots and British Isis fighters in Syria (Reuters)

Members of the “Three Musketeers” terror cell may have met with convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary days before they started planning a Lee Rigby-style terror attack, it can now be revealed.

Text messages not seen by the jury show Mohibur Rahman, 33, and Tahir Aziz, 38, planned to travel to see the radical cleric on 8 May last year.

That night at 11.46pm, Choudary sent a text message to Rahman, which read: “Dear brother did you reach home yet safe and sound?”

The figurehead of banned group al-Muhajiroun was awaiting trial at the Old Bailey at the time for inviting support for Isis. He was convicted and later jailed for five-and-a-half years.

As part of his strict bail conditions, Choudary was banned from contacting a list of known extremists, and was made subject to requirements to live at his home address in Ilford, east London, and to wear an electronic tag.

Choudary has helped radicalise a string of terrorists, with high-profile supporters including Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the murderers of soldier Lee Rigby, and suspected Isis executioner Siddhartha Dhar.

His full contact with Rahman and Aziz can be reported for the first time after they were found guilty of preparing terrorist acts along with Naweed Ali, 29, and Khobaib Hussain, 25, between 25 May and 27 August last year.

A meat cleaver that was found stashed in Naweed Ali's Seat Leon car, with the word kafir (Arabic for non-believer or infidel) scratched on the blade (West Midlands Police)

Rahman was last in touch with Choudary just days before the start of the indictment period, on 20 May, when he told him: “Just a quick msge to check u r well, if you ever need anything don't hesitate.”

Jurors were told about the messages when prosecutor Gareth Patterson QC opened the case on 22 Mary, describing Choudary as “the controversial British figure convicted last year of encouraging support for Islamic State”.

“There were messages involving Anjem Choudary. Rahman sent text messages to AC, a number used by Anjem Choudary, about Rahman and Aziz visiting Choudary, at that stage awaiting his trial,” he said.

But moments later news broke of a terrorist attack in Westminster and the trial was halted as details emerged of how Khalid Masood, 52, killed five people, including a police officer, in a car and knife attack in the heart of London.

Masood was linked to Choudary in reports and Mr Justice Globe agreed his contact with the defendants should be removed from evidence to avoid prejudice in the trial.

Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain and Mohibur Rahman who have been found guilty of plotting a Lee Rigby-style attack (West Midlands Police)

The judge said: “It is possible to attach some, albeit indirect, connection between last week (Westminster terror attack) and this case.”

On 7 May 2016 at 2.24pm, Mohibur Rahman sent a text to Choudary, which read: “Akhi just wanted to check that you were still ok with us coming down tomorrow, would you please provide an address with a post code.”

Rahman followed up the message with another that said: “Mohib.”

The following morning, 8 May, at 9.42am, Choudary replied: “wswrwb ok inshallah old text me his number jzk.”

​Later that night at 11.46pm, Choudary sent the message: “Assalamu aleikum dear brother did you reach home yet safe and sound?”

Anjem Choudary: Radical preacher found guilty of inviting support for Isis

Rahman replied: “Wa Alaykum salaam, Alhamdulillah just got home.”

On 20 May, as Choudary prepared to face trial at the Old Bailey, Rahman sent a message at 10.17am that read: “Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatulla, how u my brother? I pray that you and you're (sic) loved ones are in good health and Imaan. Just a quick msge to check u r well, if you ever need anything don't hesitate inshaAllah.”

At 1.22pm, Choudary replied: “Wa aleikum assalamuwa rahmatulaahi wa barukatu, alhamalulilah alaa kulli haal all is well and the family is all in good health. Just make dua for us dear brother and pass my salam to all those up there with you please.

“I spoke to Omar yesterday from Derby and he mentioned you and said he will contact you, i told him i had already spoken to you and advised to get in touch with the brothers from there.”

Explaining the texts in legal argument not before the jury, the prosecutor said: “Rahman exchanged messages with Choudary wishing him well at a time when he was waiting to be tried, on 20 May.

“On May 8 Rahman and Aziz are travelling to meet with Choudary at a time when he was awaiting trial.”

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