Chiswick Business Park terror suspect appears in court

Image above: counter-terror police vehicles at Chiswick Business Park

Suspect charged with collecting information to use or commit terror attack

A man who was detained at Chiswick Business Park on Saturday (11 February) has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges.

Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev (Mohammad-Hussein Dovtaev), 30, an Austrian national, was charged with collecting information likely to be useful for committing or preparing an act of terrorism. He was arrested at Chiswick Park by officers from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.

Prosecutors say Mr Dovtaev arrived in the UK on 11 February 2023 at Gatwick Airport from Vienna, where he took a taxi directly to Chiswick Business Park. He is alleged to have made phone calls to a contact listed as ‘Bewap’ which appear to have subsequently been deleted, along with several messages.

Mr Dovtaev admitted to taking pictures of one of the buildings in Chiswick Business Park but deleted them before his arrest. The indictment document shows he had called two phone numbers, one in Russia and one in Turkey. He was found also to be in possession of seven videos of the outside of the building occupied by Iran International as well as of the security arrangements around the office development.

If convicted, Mr Dovtaev faces up to 15 years imprisonment. He was remanded in custody and will appear next at the Old Bailey on 3 March.

Building 11 in Chiswick Business Park is where Iran International, a Persian language news television channel aimed at Iranian viewers, is based. Since November 2022, Chiswick Business Park has been turned into a quasi-fortress due to threats made against journalists working at Iran International, with armed police guarding the site and concrete barriers erected to prevent vehicular attacks.

Image above: inside Iran International studios; photo by Matt Smith

Over a dozen people apprehended over the last few months

Adam Baillie, one of Iran International’s senior studio producers, told The Chiswick Calendar:

“This is the first arrest made, although some dozen or more apprehended over past couple of months for taking pictures, shooting videos, staking out the building. In addition, we’ve had cases of our staff approached by strangers outside the building asking about their jobs, any jobs going at Iran International, how many working etc – trying to strike up a conversation.”

Despite the tactics of these strangers, Adam said staff at Iran International are fully aware of the precautions they should follow to keep safe.

While Volant Media, which manages Iran International, did not comment on Dovtaev being charged, they said:

“We are immensely grateful for the continuing high level of protections given us by the Metropolitan Police, which means we can continue to work safely.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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