William Chinyanga, 52, live-streamed a number of speeches via his Facebook pages over two days in early December 2019, in protest of the current government in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu–PF). In the speeches, he encouraged bombings and attacks on soldiers and police.
The videos were reported to the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command and reviewed by the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), which found that the posts were potential offences under the Terrorism Act.
Chinyanga was arrested on 25 February 2020 at his home in north London, on suspicion of encouraging terrorism.
In interview, he admitted to posting the videos.
Appearing at Kingston Crown Court on Friday, 16 December, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
Commander Richard Smith, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “It was a report from a member of the public that brought Chinyanga’s speeches to the attention of police. That person did the right thing, and this case shows that we will follow up on all reports and take action when needed. We would strongly urge anyone who sees anything online which promotes terrorism to report it to police.
“Chinyanga sought to reach as wide an audience as possible when he took to social media to encourage violent action against the current government in his native Zimbabwe. Dangerous rhetoric of this nature can and does have harmful real-world consequences.”
Chinyanga, (19.11.70) of north London, was charged in January 2021.
He was found guilty of two counts of encouraging terrorist acts (contrary to section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006) on Tuesday, 15 November, after a trial at Kingston Crown Court.
He was acquitted of two further charges of encouraging terrorist acts.
+ Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism via: www.gov.uk/report-terrorism
It can also be reported via the iREPORTit app, created by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in partnership with the national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU). The App is available on Google and Apple app stores.
The CTIRU, part of the Counter Terrorism Policing network, has national responsibility for the investigation of terrorist content online and works to have this material removed from hosting platforms.
Communities defeat terrorism, and information from the public is vital to counter terrorism investigations.