UK

Men accused of giving Brussels suspect Mohamed Abrini cash

Court sketch of (l-r) Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Zakaria Boufassil and Soumaya Boufassil Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Mohammed Ali Ahmed (L), Zakaria Boufassil and Soumaya Boufassil in court

Two men have appeared in court accused of giving money to the "man in the hat" suspected of being involved in the Brussels and Paris terrorist attacks.

Mohammed Ali Ahmed and Zakaria Boufassil, both 26, are accused of giving Mohamed Abrini £3,000 when he was in Birmingham in July last year.

They appeared with Soumaya Boufassil, 29, who is accused of collecting money for terrorist purposes with Mr Ahmed.

The trio, from Small Heath, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Ms Boufassil, who wore a burka, and the two men, who wore jumpers, spoke only to confirm their details.

Mr Ahmed is a British national, while both Mr Boufassil and his sister, Ms Boufassil, are Belgian-Moroccans. They have all been living in Birmingham.

Mr Ahmed and Mr Boufassil face one count of the commission of offences abroad, on or before 7 July 2015, under section 17 of the Terrorism Act.

They are accused of entering into an arrangement in which money was made available to another person, and that they knew, or had reasonable cause to suspect, it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism.

Mr Ahmed and Ms Boufassil are charged with the preparation of terrorist acts between 1 January 2015 and 8 April 2016, under section five of the Terrorism Act 2016.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The images of a man in a hat at Brussels airport were distributed after the attack

The trio, who were arrested on 14 and 15 April, were remanded in custody and are due to appear at the Old Bailey in London on 13 May.

Mr Abrini, a 31-year-old Belgian of Moroccan origin, is in custody in Belgium on suspicion of connection with an attack in Brussels in March. He is also wanted in connection with the November attacks in Paris.

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