A man on trial for terrorism charges told a jury that his brother who blew himself up in a suicide bomb in Iraq “is in hell.”
Mohammed Abbas Idris Awan, a 24-year-old dental student, told a jury at Sheffield Crown Court today (Tuesday) of the day he found his older brother Rizwan Awan had died after hearing it on BBC News.
Mohammed Awan, whose family home is in Rudding Street, Crosland Moor , denies three terrorism charges.
Awan, who denies preparing a terrorist act in the UK by ordering 500 steel ballbearings and accessing Jihadi training material said he “still hoped it was not true.”
Earlier in the trial Sheffield Crown Court heard how Awan was arrested on June 1 after a delivery of 500 ballbearings was made to Rudding Street.
He was also found to have a Jihadist guide for the preparation of a terror attack and a training camp video for would-be terrorists.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how the brothers kept in touch via WhatsApp regularly and through their conversations the family understood Rizwan was working in a hospital and “living a good life.”
But the court heard the defendant tell Imran Khan, defending, how he “did not really believe him” but kept his thoughts to himself due to embarrassment.
He told the court how his brother had “dropped the bomb” that he was an Islamic State fighter in a letter to his family.
In March 2016 he discovered his brother had died in a suicide bomb after watching a BBC News report.
He said: “I was devastated - it was just the way it popped up in the news.
“I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought it couldn’t be him.”
He told the jury how he was at the University of Sheffield when he heard the news and drove straight to the family home.
He said: “I was crying but I stopped to pray then got back in the car and went home. My sister was there and my mum and my little cousin.
“I could see they were having a nice time and I thought: ‘they don’t know’.
“So I had to break the news to them but they saw my face and realised what had happened.
“Everyone was devastated. My mum was wailing and going hysterical, calling ‘Rizwan’.”
As news of Rizwan’s death spread during the following days Mohammed Awan began receiving messages from friends asking about the family’s wellbeing.
Mr Khan read one of the defendant’s replies to the jury.
It read: “He did his part - may Allah accept his efforts.”
After reading out the messages Mr Khan asked the defendant: “Did his part in what?”
Mohammed Awan replied: “Rizwan was my brother and was a good person. Even though he went down a certain path I knew him - whatever he did I know who he is and I know he did it with the best of intentions.
“He thought he was helping people in Syria.”
Mr Khan asked him: “If he committed this suicide act where do you believe your brother’s soul is?”
The defendant replied: “My understanding is that if you do suicide you go to hell. I cannot say.
“I pray that God can forgive him.”
Awan denies two counts of being in possession of a document or record containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
He also denies engaging in research, planning and sourcing material with a view to committing terrorist acts against persons in the UK.
The trial continues.