Woman tried to smuggle cash to Syrian rebels in underwear

Two women, including a British student, today appeared in a court here accused of arranging to smuggle cash to jihadists in Syria after one was allegedly found with 20,000 euros in her underwear.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 08, 2014, 19:20 PM IST

London: Two women, including a British student, today appeared in a court here accused of arranging to smuggle cash to jihadists in Syria after one was allegedly found with 20,000 euros in her underwear.

Nawal Msaad, 26, from north London and Amal El-Wahabi, 27, from north-west London appeared at the Old Bailey.

Msaad had 20,000 euros (16,300 pounds) in her underwear when she was stopped by police at Heathrow airport while trying to board a flight to Turkey on January 16, the court was told.

Prosecutors claim Msaad was recruited by her friend Wahabi to take the money to her husband who was fighting with jihadist groups in war-torn Syria.

Both women deny all charges.

Prosecutor Mark Dennis said the 20,000 euros had been collected in Britain and was "destined to support the jihadist cause" in Syria.

Msaad, a human resources student at London Metropolitan University, was promised a reward of 1,000 euros if she successfully smuggled the money to an intermediary in Istanbul "in circumstances of secrecy and mutual trust", jurors were told.

When Msaad was arrested she was asked if she understood what was happening and replied: "I do, but I`m in shock".

The court heard that when she was stopped at Heathrow, she told police she was planning to buy gold for her mother.

Asked how much cash she had on her, Msaad said she had 20,000 euros "around me".

She was then taken by counter-terrorism officers to a private room, where she pulled from her underwear a roll of banknotes, totalling 20,000 euros.

The jury was told that when she was searched she pulled a roll of 500 euros banknotes from her underwear, which Dennis said had been concealed in her body inside a condom.

The prosecution also said that the smuggling attempt had been instigated by El-Wahabi`s husband Aine Davis, who, it was claimed, is fighting with jihadists in Syria.

The court heard that Davis adopted the name "Hamza" and had spent time living in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Dennis said he left the UK on a flight to Amsterdam in July 2013 and had not returned, and that messages to his wife said he had decided to remain "in Muslim lands".

Last month, the UK banned five Syria-linked jihadist groups, including the The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), amid reports that many Britons have taken up arms in conflict in Syria.

UK Security Minister James Brokenshire has said that Syria was the "number one destination" for jihadists anywhere in the world.