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‘There’s nothing that would push me to prepare terror plot,’ Sheffield defendant tells jurors 

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A Sheffield resident accused of preparing a terrorist plot involving a driverless car has told jurors he would ‘never’ have committed such an offence. 

Farhad Salah, of Brunswick Road, Burngreave went on trial at Sheffield Crown Court earlier this month, accused of preparing an act of terrorism. 

Prosecutor Anne Whyte says it is the Crown’s case that Salah, along with co-defendant Andy Star, 32, ‘had decided that improvised explosive devices could be made and used in a way here in the UK that spared their own lives preferably but harmed others they considered to be infidels’.

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Salah, 23, explicitly denied having any intention to prepare an act of terrorism in the UK when he took to the stand this morning. Sam Green QC, Salah’s barrister, asked him: “Did you at any point plan or prepare to commit terrorist acts in the UK,” to which Salah replied: “No, never, because there’s nothing to push me to do something like that.”

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He told jurors that while he sent messages in which he described using a driverless car to carry out an explosion he was never ‘serious’ about doing so and would have no feasible way of obtaining the necessary materials to carry out such a plan. 

Referring to extremist content found on Salah’s Facebook profile, some of which was in support of terrorist organisation Islamic State, Mr Green continued: “You have said you are not responsible for the violent and murderous posts on your Facebook account?”

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“No [I’m not],” replied Salah. Mr Green said: “And you are not responsible for some of the Facebook Messenger messages?” Salah answered: “That’s right.”

Kurdish-born Salah claims his Facebook account was ‘hacked’ by an unknown individual, who was using the account to post extreme material to the social network, and to ‘like’ similar posts published by others. He told jurors he was locked out of his Facebook account, as a result of being hacked, and asked his colleagues at Stocksbridge Barbers for help and advice on how to rectify the problem. 

Salah told jurors he was helping to gather information for a secret policeman in Kurdistan called Shkr Mam Hama he met online, and would often say things he did not mean in order to ‘gain the trust’ of individuals he was targeting. He said he agreed to do this so Mr Mam Hama would provide his with a reference when he returned to Kurdistan. 

Star, of Sheffield Road, Chesterfield and Salah both deny preparing an act of terrorism. 

The trial continues.