Charges of stirring up racial hatred have been dropped against two men who travelled to north London in a “Convoy For Palestine” during the war between Israel and Hamas in May last year.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Wood Green Crown Court that charges have been dropped against Asif Ali, 26 and Adil Mota, 27.
Both men had travelled from Blackburn in the convoy that drove through London on 16 May 2021.
The CPS is still set to move ahead with its case against two other men also from Blackburn, Mohammed Iftikhar Hanif, 28, and Jawaad Hussain, 25 on charges of “using threatening, abusive or insulting words, or behaviour, with intent, likely to stir up racial hatred”.
All four men were arrested after a video circulated on social media in May last year, in which antisemitic abuse could be heard being shouted as vehicles draped with Palestinian flags travelled in a convoy through or near heavily Jewish areas.
All four men had pleaded not guilty when they were charged last year. Neither Mr Mota nor Mr Ali was required to attend the court for the hearing on Friday. Their lawyers took part by video link. Mr Mota’s solicitor Ghafar Khan told the JC: “We are glad that the case against our client has been dismissed.“We had advanced the innocence of Mr Mota from the outset, he has stressed he is not antisemitic and has nothing against Jewish people.”
Mr Khan said his client was part of the convoy that travelled to North London but didn’t take part in the threatening or abusive behaviour. The lawyer said: “There was a car protest in which he took part to protest the difficulties faced in Palestine for the Palestinian people.”
He added that his client had experienced “what has been a really difficult and stressful time for the past 14 months”.