Counter Terrorism police are asking the public to remain vigilant and always report anything suspicious, following today’s conviction of a man who encouraged acts of violence and terrorism through online posts.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command has brought an end to the illegal online posts made by Munna Hamza, 50 (21.07.70), which particularly encouraged acts of terrorism against the Bangladeshi government.
He was arrested after one of his posts was spotted by a member of the public who reported it to police.
Hamza was found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court today, Wednesday, 13 January, of three counts of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act 2006. These were for three posts made between 1 September 2015 and 31 December 2015 (counting as one charge), one on 3 May 2018 and one on 16 May 2018. He was found not guilty of one other count of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act 2006, which related to a post made on 24 June 2018.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said:
“I praise the member of the public for alerting us to Hamza’s harmful, extremist posts. As a result, we were able to prevent him from publishing further incitements of violence and terror, which could have had devastating consequences.
“We take the voicing of such extremist rhetoric incredibly seriously and we will prosecute anyone involved in such illegal activity.
“I would remind everyone to remain vigilant and help us by reporting anything at all suspicious to police. Every year, thousands of reports from the public help police tackle the terrorist threat. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, even if it is online, trust your instincts and ACT by reporting to police in confidence at gov.uk/ACT.”
On 17 May 2018, a member of the public alerted police to Hamza’s post of 16 May. Counter Terrorism officers carried out a thorough investigation and initially identified five posts of concern: three between 1 September 2015 – 31 December 2015, one on 3 May 2018, and one on 16 May. Within his posts, Hamza called on others to commit serious acts of violence in Bangladesh against the then Bangladeshi Prime Minister and government.
On 4 July 2018, officers arrested Hamza at his place of work in south London and seized his computer, phones and memory sticks for forensic examination. He admitted to publishing the posts and he was bailed. Following the examination of his devices, detectives discovered another post made on 24 June 2018 for which he was subsequently found not guilty.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, part of the Counter Terrorism Command assessed the posts and found they were likely to be in breach of UK terrorism legislation.
Subsequently, Hamza was charged on 28 January 2019 with four counts of encouraging terrorism contrary to section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
Following Hamza’s conviction today, he was bailed and is scheduled for sentencing at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday 4 March.