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U.K. couple jailed for videos hailing soldier’s murder

AFP-JIJI

A British judge on Friday jailed a young Muslim couple for making YouTube videos that praised the murder of a soldier by extremists in London last year, and for urging similar attacks overseas.

Royal Barnes, 23, and his wife Rebekah Dawson, 22, had admitted recording and uploading three videos hailing the frenzied murder of Lee Rigby near his barracks in Woolwich by two Muslim extremists.

Barnes had also posted on Facebook an offer to give his car and some cash to anyone who beheaded a French, British or U.S. soldier in “Muslim lands.”

At the Old Bailey court in London, Barnes was imprisoned for five years and four months for inciting terrorism overseas and was handed 26 months each for three counts of disseminating a terrorist publication, to run concurrently.

Dawson, who wore a full veil in the dock, was sentenced to 20 months for each of three counts of disseminating a terrorist publication, which will also run concurrently.

Judge Brian Barker said the videos the couple made were “offensive in the extreme,” adding: “Freedom of speech has long been jealously regarded by the law but with that freedom comes respect and responsibility.”

The first video was made the day Rigby was attacked, which Dawson hailed as a “brilliant” day. It included graphic images of a man holding a decapitated head, a scene of the murder and another of the Twin Towers in New York, which were attacked in Sept. 11, 2001.

The second video was similar but featured Dawson ranting about how British troops would be killed on the streets of London. In the third, Barnes was filmed laughing at the floral tributes left at the murder scene.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, two Muslim converts, were jailed for life last month for murdering Rigby in May 2013 by running over and then attacking him with knives.

Rigby had previously served in Afghanistan, and Barnes, in his Facebook post a month after the murder, urged further attacks on serving Western soldiers.

He wrote: “Any1 who kills an invading soldier in Muslim land I will give them a Vauxhall Astra 3door and money (French British American any kaffir soldier take ur pick).”

Barnes had previous convictions for using threatening words or behavior and for assault, and had also taken part in vigilante patrols in east London promoting Shariah law, the court heard.