Man with Hamas headband given conditional discharge

A photo of the defendant
Khaled Hajsaad, 24, wore the green headband in Trafalgar Square last year [PA Media]

A man who was found guilty of wearing a headband in support of Hamas at a pro-Palestine rally in central London has been given a conditional discharge.

Khaled Hajsaad, 24, wore the green headband which had the basic statement of the Islamic faith "Shahada" written on it in Trafalgar Square last year, Westminster Magistrates' Court previously heard.

He had told police it was "an item of Saudi Arabia" and the Shahada was a "statement of my faith".

He was found guilty in April of wearing the item "in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion" he was supporting Hamas - an illegal act in the UK - but the judge said she did "not classify the harm [caused] as serious".

On Friday Hajsaad, who has been living in Birmingham, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court where he was given a conditional discharge for three months.

He was also spared any fines due to his "extremely limited budget" of £49 per week used for food and travel.

Judge Nina Tempia said: "The offence here was Mr Hajsaad wearing a bandana at a demonstration.

"In respect to harm, I agree with the prosecution that there was harm as the conduct linked to support of a proscribed organisation.

"The offence was committed after [the October 7 attacks].

"Not days or weeks later, but seven weeks later. I would not classify the harm as serious."

'Encouraging others'

Bethan David, head of the CPS counter terrorism division, said wearing the item in a public place "creates a risk of encouraging others to support Hamas".

She added: "When people break the law - whether by hateful speech, supporting proscribed organisations or by threatening public order - the CPS will prosecute swiftly and independently.

"We have already prosecuted a string of offences linked to events in the Middle East and we are working closely with the police to make sure our approach commands public confidence."

Hajsaad, described as an asylum seeker who arrived in the UK a year ago, had previously entered a not guilty plea.

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