A suspect accused of murdering a British MP last October has denied the charge, claiming that his actions were intended to “prevent further harm to Muslims.”

Addressing jurors, Ali Harbi Ali, 26, said he decided to kill Southend West MP David Amess at a constituency surgery in Essex on Oct. 15 as he had been one of more than 200 MPs who had voted in favor of airstrikes against Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria.

“I decided to do it because I felt that if I could kill someone who had made decisions to kill Muslims, it could prevent further harm to Muslims,” Ali told the Old Bailey.

“He won’t be able to vote again in Parliament. He won’t be able to do votes like that in future. (I sought to) send a message to his colleagues who have done similar things. Something like that will always have a response.”

Ali said he does not regret the attack, adding: “If I thought I had done anything wrong, I wouldn’t have done it.”

He went on to deny charges of terrorism, claiming that his actions were comparable to MPs voting for airstrikes, despite the prosecution alleging that he had been planning an attack for years.

The trial had previously heard how Ali had researched several high-profile targets, including Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Dominic Raab and Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Asked why he had a note on his phone about his “plans” to kill Gove, Ali responded: “That was plans I had to attack and hopefully kill Michael Gove. I believe he was someone who was a harm to Muslims.”

Ali earlier told the court that police contacted him in 2014 following a referral by someone he knew as they had been worried about British Muslims going to Syria at the time.

He said police interviewed him at the time about several Twitter accounts and how he felt about the government, claiming he simply nodded to their questions.

He added that a planned second interview was cancelled as the police “were happy with the first one.”

Describing himself as a “moderate Muslim,” Ali nonetheless said he intended to be martyred by police responding to the attack against Amess.

However, upon realizing the first officers on the scene were unarmed, he told jurors that he made the decision to drop the knife and surrender.

The trial continues.

 

 

 

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