An illegal immigrant appeared in court on Tuesday, charged with supplying hundreds of SIM cards to jihadist to set up social media accounts in what is the first case of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Iraqi Kurd Rabar Mala, 32, allegedly provided 437 cards and phone numbers to ISIS so that they could have a platform to post propaganda online.
For more than a year, the alleged IT specialist activated the cards in Britain and passed them onto ISIS members in Iraq and Syria.
At Westminster Magistrates’ Court wearing a grey jumper and tracksuit bottoms, he denied possessing property for the purposes of terrorism.
Prosecutor Kathryn Selby said: “This defendant is charged with an offence that has never been charged in this jurisdiction previously.
“Essentially, the defendant had over 400 SIM cards which were found at a property when police officers went into his home address.
“Of a period of offending was at least a year, he was activating those SIM cards, he activated those cards in this country.
“They were then passed to individuals based in Iraq and Syria to enable them to set up accounts on social media to enable them to publish material said to be supportive of IS, or Daesh.”
Ms Selby said Mala was “an illegal overstayer” who was turned down when he applied for leave to remain in 2008.
Mala was arrested after terrorism officers executed warrants at addresses in Warrington Sunday August 20.
Armed police stormed two properties in a counter-terrorism operation earlier this month, following an investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.
Detectives spent days searching the properties, which are located a mile apart in the north of the town.
Police say he is not linked to the Manchester Arena attack. Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram remanded him in custody and sent the case to be heard at the crown court.
He said: “I send this case to the Central Criminal Court, your next hearing date will be 21 September.”
Mala, of Gough Avenue, Warrington, denies possession of property for purposes of terrorism under Section 16 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
He was remanded in custody to next appear at the Old Bailey on 21 September, MailOnline reports.