Three guilty of terror offence over paraglider images at UK Palestine march

Three people have been found guilty at Westminster magistrates court of a terrorism offence after they displayed images of paragliders at a pro-Palestine march in central London a week after Hamas militants attacked Israel on 7 October last year.

Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, attached images of paragliders to their backs with tape, while Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, stuck one to the handle of a placard.

They displayed the images on 14 October, seven days after militants from Hamas used paragliders to enter Israel from Gaza before killing more than 1,000 Israelis.

They were charged under the Terrorism Act with carrying or displaying an article to arouse reasonable suspicion that they were supporters of the banned organisation Hamas, which they denied. After a two-day trial, they were found guilty on Tuesday after prosecutors argued it was “no coincidence” the defendants were displaying the images so soon after the attack.

Reacting to the verdict, the Crown Prosecution Service said displaying the images amounted to “glorification of the actions” of Hamas. Lawyers for the group had suggested they were actually displaying images of a parachute emoji rather than paragliders, and claimed police had been “mistaken” in what they saw.

Mark Summers KC, for Alhayek and Ankunda, said the idea that the image was a paraglider started with “an internet group with an agenda”. He also argued that flying-related images were a common symbol of peace in the region.

The Guardian

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