North Belfast loyalist remanded in custody

A leading north Belfast loyalist has been remanded in custody over charges connection with serious crime.

Ihab Shoukri, 32, was charged with membership of the UDA/UFF between January and March 2006, and with a second charge of claiming to be a member of the organisation.

It is understood that the charges relates to a police raid on the Alexander Bar in north Belfast on March 2, when Shoukri was one of 17 men arrested.

At the time it was alleged the men were preparing for a paramilitary show of strength, however a defence lawyer claimed that the men were preparing to announce an end to all UDA crime.

A handwritten paramilitary speech in support of the UDA was found on one of the men, which a handwriting expert confirmed as being written by the defendant.

Belfast Magistrates Court today heard that when charged, Mr Shoukri said: "I have recently been acquitted of that charge. I have to ask whose agenda is being served here?"


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