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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - An extremist who boasted of tricking a jury into acquitting him of a samurai sword attack on police outside the British queen’s official residence has been convicted of plotting a terrorist strike against London targets.
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was found to have posted extremist messages online just six days after being cleared of the terrorist attack outside Buckingham Palace in August 2017 when he cut two officers with a 42-inch sword while shouting “Allahu akbar”.
British police feared that Chowdhury posed such a potential threat after his acquittal that four undercover officers spent five months winning the trust of the 28-year-old until he detailed his deadly plans.
He talked about using guns, knives or even a van as a weapon – a tactic used by other terrorists including in 2017 when three attackers mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before launching random knife attacks. The trio were shot dead by police.
The undercover officers discovered that the former Uber driver was driven by a desire for martyrdom. Chowdhury, who worked in a chicken shop” confided his plans to kill members of the public on an open-top bus tour, at waxwork museum Madame Tussauds or the Gay Pride parade in the city.
He obtained a replica gun and tried to persuade one of the undercover officers – who he thought was preparing his own terrorist attack – to get him a real firearm.
At his trial over the samurai sword attack, he had claimed that he had not intended to kill anyone but wanted police to shoot him because he was depressed about the war in Yemen.
But he told a different story to undercover officers following his acquittal, saying that he wanted to kill soldiers. In a covertly recorded conversation, he was heard saying: “I’m doing another attack, bruv... I’m serious bro, it’s about time now.”
He was also proud of having deceived a jury into thinking he was not an extremist, which included shaving off his beard for a second of two trials for the sword incident. The first jury in the case had not been able to reach a verdict.
He practised knife attacks and with his sister Sneha rehearsed how he would behead people. Sneha Chowdhury, 25, who gave evidence against him at the trial over the samurai sword attack, was also convicted of failing to alert police that her brother was preparing a terrorist attack.
He was eventually arrested more than seven months after he was released from detention and three days before the Gay Pride parade in London.
During initial interviews with detectives, he appeared happy to talk and police believe he was stalling for time until his accomplice launched his own terrorist attack.
But on the day of the parade - when police broke the news that the would-be terrorist was an undercover police officer - Chowdhury declined to answer further questions. In a search of his home, detectives found a list on the back of his bedroom door detailing his plans for paradise after achieving his ambition of martyrdom.
The case has raised further questions about the effectiveness of the criminal justice system to keep people safe from the most dangerous extremists.
It emerged that while awaiting trial at a top security prison for the sword attack, he drew a sketch of an extremist in a suicide vest shooting a police officer outside 10 Downing Street, the home of the UK’s Prime Minister.
The UK government is scrambling to create new legislation after two attacks by men soon after they were released from prison for terrorism offences.
“I believe Mohiussunnath Chowdhury to be a very dangerous individual who is committed to kill and maim members of the public for no other reason than he has a hate-filled ideology,” said Richard Smith, the head of London’s counter-terrorist unit.
Updated: February 10, 2020 08:05 PM
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