July 24 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
A Holloway woman tried to smuggle cash in her underwear to fund jihadists fighting in Syria, a court has heard.
Nawal Msaad, 27, of Centurian Close, was caught with the stash of €20,000 (£16,000) in rolled up notes as she prepared to board a flight to Istanbul from Heathrow.
The Old Bailey was told she agreed to be a “trusted courier” for her close friend Amal El-Wahabi of Willesden, also 27.
The money was to be taken to Turkey at the request of Mrs El-Wahabi’s husband Aine Davis – who had joined fighters in Syria.
Ms Msaad was stopped by police after the cash which had been hidden inside her in a condom fell out into her pants.
She spend seven weeks in prison following her arrest before appearing in an interview on Channel 4 in which she said she had “strong views against terrorism and against religious extremism”.
Both women deny funding terrorism.
Prosecutor Mark Dennis QC said the women had been close friends for years.
He said: “It is alleged in this case that the money that the second defendant was attempting to take out to Turkey was money that had been raised in this country and had been destined to support the jihadist cause which Davis was now pursuing with like-minded supporters.
“The allegation in this case is that each defendant... knew of, at the very least had reasonable cause to suspect, that the money was or might be used for the purposes of terrorism.”
Ms Msaad had been studying human resources at London Metropolitan University in Aldgate at the time her friend had allegedly offered her €1,000 to be a courier.
She was stopped on January 16 at Heathrow Airport as she approached the departure gate and asked by police why she was going to Istanbul.
She replied it was for a “short break” and added that she was buying gold for her mother.
She said she had €20,000 “around me”.
Mr Dennis said: “She was then taken to a private room where she pulled out a roll of banknotes from inside her underwear and handed it across to the officers. The banknotes were tightly rolled and were wrapped in cling film.
“It would appear that it would have been further hidden inside her body, wrapped in a condom.”
There were 38 €500 notes, four €200 notes and two €100 notes, totalling €20,000.
The court heard how the arrangements were made in the days before in phone calls and WhatsApp messages between Mrs El-Wahabi and her husband Mr Davis and her friend Msaad.
The same day Miss Msaad was arrested, police went to Mrs El-Wahabi’s home and found videos on her mobile phone from her husband containing jihadist propaganda.
The trial continues.