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Canadian, 28, charged under U.K. terrorism act after arrest at Heathrow

A Canadian man arrested by British police at Heathrow Airport last week on suspicion of terrorism offences has now been formally charged.

Khaled Hussein of Edmonton facing 1 count, charged alongside Anjem Choudary

A roomful of passengers at London's Heathrow International Airport is shown.

A Canadian man arrested by British police at Heathrow Airport last week on suspicion of terrorism offences has now been formally charged.

"The Crown Prosecution Service has authorized charges in relation to Anjem Choudary and Khaled Hussein under the Terrorism Act," said Nick Price, chief Crown prosecutor for the CPS counterterrorism division.

"The charges relate to the proscribed organization Al-Muhajiroun, also known as the Islamic Thinkers Society."

In a media statement, Scotland Yard said Hussein, 28, is from Edmonton and Choudary, 56, is a British citizen from east London. According to multiple British media reports, Choudary is a well-known radical Islamic preacher who has been convicted of aiding ISIS.

Hussein has been charged with membership in a proscribed organization.

Choudary has been charged with one count of membership in a proscribed organization, one count of addressing meetings to encourage support for a proscribed organization and one count of directing a terrorist organization.

Both men appeared in London's Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday. Court heard that Hussein has been a member of Al-Muhajiroun for two years and had been in close contact with Choudary, "in effect working for him."

Both men are scheduled to next appear on Aug. 4 and are due to be remanded in custody until then.

According to the Metropolitan Police, counterterrorism detectives investigating membership in the Islamic Thinkers Society arrested Hussein on July 17 after he arrived at Heathrow Airport in London on a flight. Choudary was arrested that same day.

According to a U.K. government website, Britain's Home Secretary "proscribes" an organization if they believe it commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism or promotes or encourages terrorism.

Those found guilty of an offence under Sections 11 and 12 of the U.K. Terrorism Act 2000 face a maximum of 14 years in prison and/or a fine. A person found guilty of an offence under section 56 of the act faces life imprisonment.

Choudary is known as one of Britain's best-known radical Islamic preachers. For years, he has led groups under various names, including al-Muhajiroun, Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades.

In 2016, he was sentenced to 5 and a half years in prison for encouraging support for the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Several people who attended Choudary's rallies and events have been convicted of violent attacks. They include a pair of al-Qaeda-inspired killers who ran over British soldier Lee Rigby and stabbed him to death in 2013.

Al-Muhajiroun

In January 2010 and November 2011, the British government issued orders requiring that Al-Muhajiroun, Islam4UK, Call to Submission, Islamic Path, London School of Sharia and Muslims Against Crusades be treated as alternative names for the same organization.

The group has been proscribed also under the names Al-Ghurabaa and The Saved Sect.

According to the British government, Al-Muhajiroun first emerged in the U.K. in 1996. It was led by radical Islamic preacher Omar Bakri Muhammed, who publicly disbanded the organization in 2004.

The U.K. Home Office said the organization reformed in 2004 under the names Al-Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect and is based in and operates from the U.K.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Zimonjic

Senior writer

Peter Zimonjic is a senior writer for CBC News. He has worked as a reporter and columnist in London, England, for the Daily Mail, Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph and in Canada for Sun Media and the Ottawa Citizen. He is the author of Into The Darkness: An Account of 7/7, published by Random House.

    With files from the Associated Press and the CBC's Christine Birak

    *****
    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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