Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Man guilty over Facebook message

Azhar Ahmed has been found guilty of posting an offensive Facebook message about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan
Azhar Ahmed has been found guilty of posting an offensive Facebook message about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan

A man who posted a Facebook message following the deaths of six British troops which said "all soldiers should die and go to hell" has been found guilty of sending a grossly offensive communication.

Azhar Ahmed, 20, admitted posting the message in March, but told Huddersfield Magistrates' Court he thought it was distressing but not offensive.

District Judge Jane Goodwin said Ahmed's Facebook remarks were "derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory".

After the trial, Ahmed left the court by a side door without saying anything and sped off in a waiting car past a number of police officers. He avoided a demonstration of about 30 people at the front of the court building, some wearing EDL branded clothing and one flying a union flag. The demonstrators were heavily outnumbered by police.

In court, Ahmed was bailed after the district judge told him she wanted a pre-sentence report prepared. He is due back in court for sentence on October 9.

Earlier, the district judge heard how Ahmed posted his message two days after the deaths of the soldiers. Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed alongside Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.

Ahmed's message said: "People gassin about the deaths of Soldiers! What about the innocent familys who have been brutally killed. The women who have been raped. The children who have been sliced up! Your enemy's were the Taliban not innocent harmful familys.

"All soldiers should DIE & go to HELL! THE LOWLIFE F****N SCUM! Gotta problem. Go cry at your soldiers grave and wish him hell because that's where he is going."

Ahmed told the court he immediately started to receive critical comments on his page and realised the second half of his post was "unacceptable". But he denied it was "grossly offensive", telling a district judge he thought it would have been "upsetting" and caused "distress".

Ahmed, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, told the court he was only trying to make the point that many other deaths in Afghanistan were being ignored. He said he had no idea it would cause so much upset and as soon as he realised what reaction it was having he deleted it.

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