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article imageLee Rigby trial: Adebolajo calls himself 'a soldier of Allah'

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 9, 2013 in Crime
London - Monday, the Old Bailey trial of the two men accused of killing soldier Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich, continued with testimony by one of the accused. The defence case for Adebolajo began in the morning.
As the trial of the two men accused of killing soldier Lee Rigby in May continued at the Old Bailey, London, again the young man's widow, Rebecca Rigby, eventually left the court in tears after hearing harrowing details of Lee's death.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, took the stand and was cross-examined by his defence lawyer in the morning and the prosecution in the afternoon, about events on May 22 which resulted in the brutal murder of Fusilier Rigby.
Under cross examination he told the court that he viewed himself as 'a soldier of Allah' and that "this is a war", plus for the first time during the trial, he admitted being responsible for the murder of Lee.
BBC News reports:
Under cross examination by prosecutor Richard Whittam QC, Mr Adebolajo replied "yes" when he was asked if he had killed Fusilier Rigby, describing it as a "military operation".
Adebolajo went on to say he "loved the extremist network al-Qaeda" although he told the court he did not personally know any person involved in that terror organisation.
The court heard a little of Adebolajo's background. According to the Daily Mirror:
Adebolajo tells the court he has six children. His son Hamza is seven years old. He grew up in Romford. "I was born in Lambeth, King's College hospital, but most of my youth I was living in Romford." His favourite teacher at primary school was the PE teacher. "I remember she was the first person who ever taught me about Adolf Hitler. I learnt from that lesson there are some very wicked people in the world." Adebolajo added: "Generally speaking, most of my friends were Caucasian.
His parents are Christian and as a child he attended church each Sunday. He was brought up in the christian faith. With help he studied the Bible to an intensity which is rare these days. He attended Greenwich University and told the court that he officially became a Muslim in his first year of study.
He went on to talk in depth about his love of Allah and his Muslim faith. "When I came to Islam, I realised that real success is if you make it to Paradise. Then you can relax and have as much property as you want."
Even before he became Muslim though he disagreed with British foreign policy.
Adebolajo, as anticipated, used the witness box, as a political sounding board for his extremist views. He detailed his beliefs in a calm and, it has to be said, intelligent manner. At one point he became emotional.
Questioning relating to the way Lee was killed and the actual events of that fateful day, led to Lee's widow leaving the court in tears. The family and friends of Lee have faced brutal days in court with witness statements and footage of the attack.
The accused have had no contact with each other since the murder and have both remained in solitary confinement.
In cross examination by Abbas Lakha QC, for Adebowale, Adebolajo confirmed there was no plan to kill a police officer, paramedic or member of the public.
Adebolajo said: "We knew whoever had the gun was more likely to obtain shahada [martyrdom]... this is as far as the discussion went."
He said he did try to obtain ammunition before the attack but added: "This was not to harm anyone. This was maybe to control the crowd, take a shot in the air."
Richard Whittam QC asked Adebolajo which war he was fighting as a soldier of Allah, now that the Iraq war has ended: "The war continues, even to this day. It is a war between Islam and those militaries that invade Muslim lands," he had told the court earlier and went on to talk about Afghanistan.
What became clear today is that Adebolajo expected to die in the Woolwich attack and achieve martyrdom. Both men thought that soldiers would attend the scene of the attack and they would die in a fanciful blaze of glory, but instead it was police officers who responded to the emergency calls.
In court Monday Adebolajo was asked what he thinks should happen to him once the trial is complete. He replied, "As an enemy soldier I believe either I should be ransomed to my mujahid brothers or I should be set free or I should be killed.'"
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