A teenager today denied posting a grossly offensive message on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan.
Azhar Ahmed, 19, appeared at Dewsbury Magistrates’ Court charged under the Communications Act 2003 with sending a message that was grossly offensive on March 8.
A racially-aggravated public order charge was withdrawn at today’s hearing and Ahmed denied the new charge that was put to him.
Ahmed, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, was bailed and will stand trial at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court on July 3. He has been bailed to an address not given to court.
There was a large police presence outside court as around 50 far-right protesters staged a noisy demonstration when the defendant arrived and left.
The six soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device in Lashkar Gah on March 6 in the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001.
Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment was killed alongside Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.
Ahmed’s court appearance coincided with the repatriation of the soldiers’ bodies, which are being flown to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire later today.