Man appears in court over Abdul Hadi Arwani murder

A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of Syrian-born preacher Abdul Hadi Arwani, who was found shot dead in his car in north-west London.

Mr Arwani, a British national, was found dead on 7 April in Wembley.

Leslie Cooper, 36, of Nightingale Road, Brent, appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court. He was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey by Thursday.

Rob Davis, from the Crown Prosecution Service, confirmed earlier it had authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge Mr Cooper following an investigation by counter-terrorism officers.

Mr Arwani was found with bullet injuries to his chest in a parked car at the junction of Greenhill and The Paddocks.

Mr Arwani, 48, a father of six, was found dead in a parked car. A post-mortem examination found he died from gunshot wounds and counter-terrorism officers were tasked with investigating his murder.

He had been an imam at the An Noor mosque in Acton, west London, from 2005 to 2011, and is believed to have attended protests against Bashar al Assad outside the Syrian embassy in London in 2012.

In 1982, he claimed he was forced to flee Syria after being sentenced to death for photographing damage in his home city of Hama following government suppression of a rebellion.

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