Sheffield man accused of plotting terror attack said 'I want to jihad', court hears

A Sheffield man accused of plotting a terror attack sent a message saying ‘I want to jihad’ and asking for advice, a court heard.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 14:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th June 2019, 17:18 pm

Farhad Salah, aged 24, of Brunswick Road, Burngreave, and Andy Star, aged 32, of Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, are both on trial accused of preparing to commit acts of terrorism.

Jurors at Sheffield Crown Court were today shown numerous messages sent via Facebook Messenger from Salah’s phone, by a user called Farhad Barznjibar, which the Crown claims is Salah, to a contact known as ‘Desert State’.

Farhad Salah, 23, and Andy Star, 32 (pic: Counter Terrorism Policing North East/PA Wire)

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Anna Whyte QC, prosecuting, told how one exchange happened on the afternoon of November 17, 2017, while the phone was operating off a cell tower near the Stocksbridge barbershop where Salah was then working.

She said Salah, who was using Google Translate to convert messages to and from Arabic, wrote: “Brother I’m a Kurdish guy. I want to jihad and I’m looking for find someone help me and show me some way go to daula islami (sic).”

Phone records seen in court show how the exchange continued that evening, when the Barznjibar Facebook account was registered to the internet at Fatima Community Centre in Burngreave.

At one point, Desert State asks: “How do you know everything about the (Islamic) State?”

Barznjibar responds: “Cause all my friend soldier of daula and i read book about daula islami and I watch all video (sic).”

Ms Whyte described how that same evening Salah had sent a photo to another contact, showing a ‘street scene with a municipal Christmas tree’.

“There’s a question ‘what is this’, to which he answers ‘it’s New Year’s Eve’,” said Ms Whyte.

The phone log shown in court goes on to list details of communications on November 29 via the secure messaging application Telegram, when Barznjibar sent two contacts, Hunar Omar and Islam Is My Life, a link to a video called ‘Flames of War’.

The court was played a heavily edited version of the 58-minute long video, which Ms Whyte said appeared to have been produced by Islamic State and published that day.

Addressing Detective Constable Richard Nixon, who edited the video to remove the most distressing scenes, she said: “You describe it as extremely graphic in nature, showing numerous shots of warfare, beheadings and the murder and mutilation of prisoners.”

Ms Whyte explained how one scene shows an Islamic State fighter holding a severed head aloft, while in another captured soldiers are seen being forced to dig their own graves before they are shot in the head.

The court has previously been told how Salah and Star, who both deny the charges, had been plotting a ‘driverless car’ terror attack in the UK.

Jurors have heard how Salah told police in an interview that his Facebook account had been hacked, though Ms Whyte described that claim as a ‘smokescreen’.

The trial continues.