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CPS statement on Bilal Ahmad

29/07/2011

Bilal Ahmad was today setenced for encouraging violent extremism and attempting to stir up hatred on the internet.

 Moira Macmillan, senior lawyer in the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: "The sentencing of Bilal Ahmad today sends a warning to people who would seek to encourage violent extremism or to stir up hatred on the internet.

"People are entitled to express their views on the internet and elsewhere. The law seeks to protect the right of all to freedom of speech as is necessary in a democratic society. However, Bilal Ahmad crossed the line from expressing views which some might find unwelcome into serious criminal behaviour, going far beyond what the law allows.

"He was charged with soliciting to murder members of the UK Parliament after he posted an article on a website following the conviction in November 2010 of Roshonara Choudhry for the attempted murder of MP Stephen Timms. In this article, Bilal Ahmad encouraged others to follow her example.

"This is a serious offence which strikes at the heart of our democratic society and once I was satisfied the evidence was there, the public interest clearly required a prosecution. Bilal Ahmad was also charged with publishing material intending to stir up religious hatred; this is the first successful prosecution for this offence.

"A thorough investigation by West Midlands Police meant that when he was confronted with the evidence, Bilal Ahmad entered guilty pleas to five offences. These pleas took into account the range of his criminal behaviour."