Three Muslim men laughed in court yesterday as they were accused of plotting to behead a member of the public before Remembrance Sunday.
Cousins Nadir Sayed, 21, and Yousaf Sayed, 19, along with friend Haseeb Hamayoon, 27, smirked as the charges against them were read out, with prosecutors claiming they planned to commit a terror attack on British soil.
The men were arrested days before Remembrance Sunday this year, leading to fears that commemoration services may have been targeted, and causing security to be tightened around major events such as the Queen’s wreath laying at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London.
They have been charged under the Terrorism Act 2006 with intending to commit acts of terrorism and preparing to commit those acts.
Speaking at Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday, prosecutor Rebecca Mundy said: “These are serious charges, the evidence of which has been set out in a lengthy case summary.
“In relation to that this appears to be an incident where there was an attack planned in the UK that seemed to be imminent in nature and would have involved the defendants acting together in beheading a member of the public, using knives to do so.”
Roads were temporarily closed as the men were taken to the court in armoured police vans. The Daily Mail reports that the men nudged each other and laughed as the beheading plot was outlined. Hamayoon also waved at family members in the public gallery.
They spoke only to confirm their names and addresses, and will next appear before the Old Bailey on 4 December. Lawyers have confirmed they will not apply for bail.
These were the latest in a series of arrests by British police since the UK joined the US-led coalition in airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq. Britain’s terror alert level was raised over the summer to its second-highest level, meaning that an attack is considered highly likely.
The arrest of the three men led to concerns that they may have been planning to target the Queen. Her Majesty was applauded on Remembrance Sunday when she turned up at the Cenotaph anyway and laid a wreath as normal.