LONDON: An Islamic State supporter has been convicted of encouraging terrorism with a video urging fanatics to attack central London.
Shehroz Iqbal (29), claimed that in the video, he was saying "attack, attack" because he wanted a German Shepherd like his former pet dog, Rocky, and was practicing commands. But a jury rejected that explanation to find the 29-year-old guilty of all charges on Tuesday. The Old Bailey court heard that Iqbal travelled to the Southbank Centre on March 11 and filmed landmarks from the Hayward Gallery, an art gallery within the Southbank Centre in central London.
In a video shown to the court, Iqbal panned across Waterloo Bridge and the Royal Festival Hall before saying: "This is my spot akhi (brother) central London. Attack, attack." Prosecutor Kate Wilkinson said Iqbal posted the video in an extremist WhatsApp group to urge "like-minded associates" to carry out terror attacks.
The group named From Dark To Light, included a notorious Islamist preacher known as Abu Haleema who had links to Anjem Choudary and the London Bridge attack mastermind Khuram Butt.
The court heard that Iqbal followed Haleema on encrypted messaging app Telegram and had stored his videos on his phone.
Not providing the evidence on trial, Iqbal had told police that he had gone for a cycle ride to the Hayward Gallery and made the video to show off his bike.
He claimed that the reference to "attack, attack" was him practicing dog commands as he wanted a German Shepherd like a pet named Rocky from when he lived in Pakistan. (IANS)