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Man accused of terror spying journey to London claims he took video of TV station in ‘surprise’ of structure | UK Information

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A Chechen-born man accused of being an “worldwide terrorist” conducting hostile reconnaissance in opposition to a dissident Iranian TV station in West London has claimed he was “arrange”.

Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, 31, is accused of conducting surveillance on Iran International on the Chiswick Enterprise Park in West London on 11 February this 12 months.

He advised the {Old} Bailey he “merely appreciated” buildings on the enterprise park and was “in surprise” on the structure whereas attempting to elucidate why he had taken a video on his cellphone within the space.

His go to was stated to be the newest in a sequence of not less than three such visits by “others unknown”, starting in the summertime of 2022, following threats from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence in opposition to the TV station.

Safety guards noticed Dovtaev’s suspicious behaviour and used CCTV to determine his actions earlier than confronting him and calling in armed police.

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‘I used to be in surprise of such structure’

Giving proof in his defence, Dovtaev admitted that he had taken a video on his cellphone in the midst of the enterprise park.

He advised the courtroom: “You’ve got these buildings and in the midst of it you’ve got the lake and I used to be in surprise of such structure, I fairly merely appreciated it.”

Dovtaev claimed that he had been despatched to Britain by his brother, Bashar – who was residing in Istanbul however utilizing a Russian WhatsApp quantity – in an effort to examine fraudsters who had stolen cash from his father.

His father, a lorry driver, had been concerned within the Chechen opposition and fled to Austria in 2004 when Dovtaev’s uncle was kidnapped by the Russians, he advised the jury.

His father misplaced his job in 2022, following the pandemic, and invested 20,000 euros with Russian-speaking fraudsters, the courtroom heard.

Iran International TV west London studio. Pic: Iran International TV
Iran Worldwide TV west London studio. Pic: Iran Worldwide TV

Journey to London over ‘household downside’ linked to ‘fraudsters’

Dovtaev additionally invested 3,000 euros with the fraudsters, via his father, and the household was inspired by the Austrian police to research the fraud themselves, he stated.

He labored as an IT technician with Steinbauer IT and Albi, in Graz, Austria, is married to a nurse and has three youngsters, he advised the courtroom.

“I’ve travelled to just about all European nations besides Scandinavia. I journey with my household but in addition alone and with mates,” he added, via a German translator – although he had by no means been to the UK earlier than.

Throughout a go to to his brother in Istanbul in January this 12 months, the brother put him in contact with a person known as Shukhrat Sadikov who “had many contacts and ultimately he would be capable of assist me with our shared household downside”.

After arriving again in Austria, Dovtaev stated his brother contacted him and stated he was reserving a flight for him to London, though he didn’t know why the ticket was booked via an handle in Baku, Azerbaijan.

“It was Friday after a protracted onerous week at work and me and my mates went out consuming to have some enjoyable,” he stated.

He didn’t sleep and his buddy Idris drove him to Vienna Airport from Graz, the place he logged onto his e mail and was despatched particulars of the enterprise park by his brother, Dovtaev defined.

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Dovtaev was detained by armed police

‘Easy rationalization’ for change of garments

Arriving at London Gatwick, he purchased a brand new SIM card for his cellphone at WH Smith as a result of the Austrian one was not working, he stated.

He then went to The Beehive Wetherspoon pub within the airport’s South Terminal and drank three or 4 glasses of beer within the area of 52 minutes, sending a photograph of a pint of beer to his buddy Idris.

He caught a taxi to West London, paying 150 euros in money, and receiving £10 change.

As he received out of the taxi at 10.03am, Dovtaev modified a New Steadiness cap for a Chechnyan opposition cap and pulled a snood over his mouth earlier than coming into the enterprise park at 10.14am.

He advised the courtroom: “There’s a easy rationalization for that. It is a image of freedom of Chechnya. It’s one that each Russian speaker is aware of and I wished to make clear with that that the one who has been defrauded yesterday is there as we speak to pose questions.

“He would instantly have a assume and know what he is executed – yesterday he has defrauded a Chechen particular person.”

‘I had one way or the other been arrange… tricked’

Dovtaev claimed he was “very shocked, I have to say, that there have been all these safety personnel standing by” outdoors the enterprise park.

He known as his brother on the Russian WhatsApp quantity and his brother rang him again as he entered the enterprise park and went across the aspect of Constructing 11, the place the TV station was then based mostly, searching for the entrance.

He was speaking to his brother on the Sign app when he was approached by the safety guards.

“I defined to him that issues weren’t wanting the way in which we count on them to be and the constructing was closely underneath surveillance,” Dovtaev advised the courtroom.

He admitted swearing in Russian to his brother on the cellphone, calling the safety guards, “m************” and “b******”.

He suspected some “foul play” he stated, including: “I’ve used such phrases very often.”

He had deliberate to stroll into the workplace constructing, discover some Russian audio system and “confront them” however he advised the courtroom: “I felt that there wasn’t actually a plan anymore and that I had one way or the other been arrange, tricked and drawn in and did not know who lay behind this.”

Dovtaev agreed that he was being accused of being an “worldwide terrorist” when he was surrounded by armed police after going into Starbucks.

He denies a single cost of making an attempt to gather info helpful for terrorism and the trial continues.

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