Three women who attended a pro-Palestinian march in central London displayed images of paragliders, “celebrating” the Hamas tactic, a court has heard.
Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, attached images of paragliders to their backs, while Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, stuck one to the handle of a placard, it is alleged.
They displayed the images on October 14, prosecutors allege, just seven days after terrorists from Hamas used paragliders to enter Israel from Gaza on October 7 before killing more than 1,000 Israelis.
Hamas is banned as a terror organisation in the UK.
The trio’s display of the images was widely condemned when footage of the demonstration was published on social media, their trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.
They are all charged under the Terrorism Act with carrying or displaying an article to arouse reasonable suspicion that they are supporters of banned organisation Hamas.
They deny the charges.
Prosecutor Brett Weaver told the court: “The displaying of these images could be viewed as celebrating the use of the paragliders’ tactic.
“They had them on display for a significant period of time. Each of them would have been able to see what the others were doing.”
After the Metropolitan Police launched a social media appeal to find them, Alhayek and Ankunda handed themselves in to Croydon Police Station, the court heard.
In a police interview, the pair initially claimed someone at the demonstration “who was not known to them” had stuck the images to their backs, before changing their statements, admitting they had attached them themselves, the court was told.
When arrested and interviewed under caution, Taiwo claimed to have been handed the placard and not paid proper attention to the “blurry image” it displayed, the court heard.
The trial continues.
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