Asylum seeker found guilty of sharing ISIS propaganda

24-year-old Ahmed Azizi will be sentenced next week after disseminating an ISIS propaganda video

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An asylum seeker has been convicted of disseminating an Islamic State propaganda video in response to the terrorist bombing at Liverpool Women's hospital.

24-year-old Ahmiri Ahmedi Azizi of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, shared a link to the video the day after Emad Al Swealmeen was killed when his device exploded in a taxi outside the hospital last November.

Asylum seeker Ahmiri Ahmedi Azizi
Asylum seeker Ahmiri Ahmedi Azizi

The link to the video, which promoted terror attacks against the West, was broadcast on his public Instagram account, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Later that month, Azizi viewed a video on how to construct a silencer for an automatic rifle.

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court convicted Azizi of seven counts of disseminating terrorist material either on Instagram or through the encrypted Telegram app between June and November next year.

A Bomb Disposal unit in Rutland Avenue, Sefton Park, Liverpool, following the explosion at the Liverpool Women's Hospital in 2021
A Bomb Disposal unit in Rutland Avenue, Sefton Park, Liverpool, following the explosion at the Liverpool Women's Hospital in 2021

Azizi of Mount Street, Sheffield, was also found guilty of viewing or accessing terrorist information and failing to disclose the pin number to access his phone.

His fellow Kurdish co-defendant Mohammed Hussini, 19, also from Iran, was convicted of four counts of disseminating terrorist material by sending similar videos by Telegram between August and November last year.

Judge Alan Conrad QC, warned a "significant custodial sentence" is likely, when the pair are sentenced on September 9, and he remanded both defendants in custody.

Commencing the case, prosecutor Denise Breen-Lawton said both men were supporters of Islamic State (IS) who intended to encourage terrorism, or were being reckless as to whether they might.

She added how the defendants who communicating with one another through the chat function on Telegram from last April.

Azizi later went on to found an Instagram account and within less than a month, he posted a video glorifying martyrdom.

Accompanying the video were posted emojis of raised index finger and black flag which were clear IS symbols, according to the Crown.

Following the terrorist incident outside Liverpool Women's Hospital, Azizi posted a link to an IS video which encouraged attacks against the West and the "Kuffar", instructing methods of attacks with knives and rifles.

Maintaining his defence, Azizi claimed his phone was hacked by or on behalf of the Iranian government, while Hussini, of south-east London, said he was striving to help fellow Kurdish asylum seekers by highlighting how they were treated by IS.

Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Craig, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North-East, stated: "Today’s outcome highlights the seriousness of the offences committed by these individuals.

“The encouragement of terrorism will not be tolerated in our objective to keep our diverse communities safe from terrorism and extremism.

“This case clearly shows the exemplary expertise of our digital investigators who overcame challenges to access a device which identified not only another like-minded individual but also evidence that contradicted the defences of Azizi and Hussini and ultimately led to their convictions.

“Terrorist groups such as Daesh (IS) rely heavily on their propaganda being shared online where it is used to radicalise, encourage support and provoke individuals to carry out attacks abroad and in the UK.

“Tackling extremist material is an essential part of protecting the public and preventing offences that incite or encourage acts of terrorism.”