Suffolk man remanded over terror charge
NEIGHBOURS of a Suffolk man charged with an offence under the Terrorism Act spoke of their shock last night at his arrest.Their comments came after French national Jacques Karim Abi-Ayad, from Ipswich, appeared in court on Saturday charged with possessing documents allegedly linked to terrorism.
By John Howard
NEIGHBOURS of a Suffolk man charged with an offence under the Terrorism Act spoke of their shock last night at his arrest.
Their comments came after French national Jacques Karim Abi-Ayad, from Ipswich, appeared in court on Saturday charged with possessing documents allegedly linked to terrorism.
The 39-year-old, of Gippeswyck Road, was charged under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 with having documents "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing to commit'' terrorist acts.
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Standing with his head bowed in the glass-fronted dock at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, Abi-Ayad spoke only to confirm his name and address.
He was remanded in custody to appear at Bow Street magistrates' court on April 16 and no application for bail was made.
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In Ipswich, residents were stunned that one of their neighbours living in the cul-de-sac could be charged with a terrorism offence.
It is not known how long Abi-Ayad had been living in his flat in Gippeswyk Road.
But Paul Richardson, a 34-year-old purchasing manager in Stowmarket for the Atco-Qualcast lawnmower manufacturers, said: "This is amazing, it brings it home to you. There is so much in the press, numerous arrests, the situation in Spain.
"You expect this sort of thing in London, even Birmingham or Manchester.
"But you really can't worry about this, there are enough other things to worry about in life. I have never seen anything suspicious, it's a quiet street, a cul-de-sac.
"Although we are close to the town centre here so there are always sirens going off, but it's the sort of street where people pass the time of day.''
David Patterson, a 32-year-old engineer who has live on the street for less than a year, said: "I can't believe I was living next to someone who has been charged with a terrorism offence. I have seen a lot of foreign people around here lately.''
Carer Rose Smyth, 52, has lived in the road for 17 years and said normally nothing of any note happens in the street.
She had heard nothing about the arrest and was surprised it could happen so near her home in Ipswich.
Organ builder Anthony Roberts, 60, said he had lived in the street for 13 years and was worried by his neighbour's being charged with a terrorism offence.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, added: "It is quite a multi-cultural road with a lot of different people. Everyone keeps themselves to themselves.''
Abi-Ayad and another man, aged 38, were arrested in the Ipswich area on April 2 as part of a police investigation into false documentation.
The pair were at first arrested by Suffolk police and held at an unidentified police station in the county.
But the following day they were re-arrested by Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch officers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and taken to a central London police station.
Warrants were executed to search a vehicle and two addresses in the Ipswich area and a warrant to extend the detention of the men was granted by Bow Street magistrates court in London, allowing the men to be held in custody until Wednesday evening.
Abi-Ayad was remanded in custody by Belmarsh magistrates on Saturday to reappear before Bow Street magistrates on Friday.
The other man was de-arrested under the Terrorism Act and re-arrested under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act in connection with false documentation. He was bailed to return to a central London police station in July.
Police sources said the arrests of the two men were not linked with the arrests of nine men in last week's major anti-terrorism operation.