Judge who let women who 'celebrated' October 7 attack with paraglider images walk free 'liked' anti-Israel post

14 February 2024, 22:23 | Updated: 14 February 2024, 22:25

The judge 'liked' the LinkedIn post three weeks ago.
The judge 'liked' the LinkedIn post three weeks ago. Picture: Social media

By Emma Soteriou

A judge who let three women who wore paraglider images at a pro-Palestine march walk free after being found guilty of terror offences is believed to have liked an anti-Israel social media post.

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Deputy Senior District Judge Tanweer Ikram is understood to have 'liked' a LinkedIn post which called for a "free Palestine" and spoke of "Israeli terrorist[s]" three weeks ago.

Mr Ikram has faced widespread criticism after saying he had "decided not to punish" the three women who displayed paraglider images, despite them each being convicted of a terrorist offence.

Judicial guidance says that those with strong views on a topic should consider whether it is appropriate to hear a case.

Heba Alhayek, 29, Pauline Ankunda, 26, and Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, were each handed a 12-month conditional discharge.

The post liked by Mr Ikram read: "Free Free Palestine. To the Israeli terrorist both in the United Kingdom, the United States, and of course Israel you can run, you can bomb but you cannot hide — justice will be coming for you."

Speaking on behalf of the judge, a Judicial Office spokesperson told LBC he said: "I didn’t know I had liked it. If I did, it was a genuine mistake."

It comes after Mr Ikram previously jailed a police officer who sent several racist memes in a WhatsApp group chat.

Read more: Women who ‘celebrated’ October 7 attack with paraglider images walk free after being found guilty of terror offence

The judge is facing criticism after 'liking' a post on LinkedIn
The judge is facing criticism after 'liking' a post on LinkedIn. Picture: Social media

Giving his verdict on Tuesday, Mr Ikram said: "Each of you stands convicted of a terrorist offence

"There is nothing to suggest the police of their own volition were going to take any action.

"You've not hidden the fact you were carrying these images.

"You crossed the line, but it would have been fair to say that emotions ran very high on this issue.

"Your lesson has been well learnt. I do not find you were seeking to show any support for Hamas."

Prosecutors said the women had used the imagery to "celebrate" the Hamas terrorists’ tactics in the attack on Israel.

Brett Weaver told the court: "The displaying of these images could be viewed as celebrating the use of the paragliders' tactic.

"They had them on display for a significant period of time. Each of them would have been able to see what the others were doing."

Mark Summers KC, representing Alhayek and Ankunda, said the women were actually displaying a "cartoon parachute" used as a "symbol of peace".

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