Shul-goer de­nies ter­ror plot role

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY DANA GLOGER

A MAN fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion to the United States on ter­ror­ism charges has spo­ken of his night­mare at be­ing linked to at­tacks on coali­tion troops in Iraq.

Farshid Gil­lar­dian, 39, from Hen­don, North-West Lon­don, is ac­cused by US au­thor­i­ties of be­ing part of a net­work that al­legedly sup­plied com­po­nents used to make road­side bombs which have killed sol­diers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pros­e­cu­tors claim that the net­work il­le­gally trans­ported more than 30,000 elec­tronic com­po­nents — al­legedly iden­ti­cal to those found in the bombs — from the US to Iran, thereby breach­ing ex­port rules.

The in­dict­ment ac­cuses the net­work, also said to in­clude peo­ple in Iran, Dubai, Malaysia and Ger­many, of tak­ing part for fi­nan­cial gain.

But Mr Gil­lar­dian, a mar­ried fa­ther-of-one who at­tends Finch­ley United Syn­a­gogue, strongly de­nies the al­le­ga­tions.

He said he first knew of the ac­cu­sa­tions last month when three plain­clothes po­lice­men ar­rived at his mother’s house in Gold­ers Green.

“My mother called me and I im­me­di­ately went round,” Mr Gil­lar­dian said. “If I had some­thing to hide, then surely I wouldn’t have. The of­fi­cers told me there was a war­rant for my ar­rest from the US au­thor­i­ties, who wanted me to be ex­tra­dited on ter­ror­ism charges.

“I was com­pletely shocked. I am a law-abid­ing per­son and just a nor­mal, bor­ing bloke. I fled Iran with my fam­ily when I was 10 be­cause of the regime there and how in­hos­pitable it was for Jewish peo­ple to live there.

“So it is in­sult­ing, il­log­i­cal and bizarre to think that I would do any­thing to ben­e­fit the Ira­nian gov­ern­ment or any­thing against Amer­ica. Which Jew would do some­thing like that?”

Mr Gil­lar­dian, who at­tended Carmel Col­lege and has pre­vi­ously been in­volved in Aish Ha’To­rah, a Jewish out­reach or­gan­i­sa­tion, was re­manded for two weeks and was re­leased on bail last Fri­day.

“It is all com­pletely ter­ri­fy­ing. The past two weeks have been a night­mare. My fam­ily and I can’t eat or sleep. This whole sit­u­a­tion is ter­ri­ble.”

He said that he owns a com­pany which buys and sells elec­tri­cal com­po­nents. Among his in­ter­na­tional clients, he has one in Iran. But, he in­sisted, the elec­tronic chips he sold were for use in com­put­ers or house­hold elec­tri­cal goods.

“This is like a shop-owner sell­ing some­one a knife for use in the kitchen and that knife then be­ing used to stab some­one. Does that make the shop­keeper guilty?” he said. He added that he was wind­ing down his com­pany as “it is mak­ing very lit­tle money”.

He added: “I con­ducted the whole busi­ness from my mother’s home, where I lived un­til I got mar­ried in May last year be­cause I could not af­ford to move out. If it was for ter­ror­ist pur­poses, surely I wouldn’t have done it from my fam­ily home and from my mo­bile phone which is on a con­tract reg­is­tered to my ad­dress?”

His wife, Ni­cola, 33, a for­mer JFS pupil, said the al­le­ga­tions are “pre­pos­ter­ous”, adding: “What they are claim­ing he was in­volved in is com­pletely against his na­ture. We are very proAmer­ica.

“We are just or­di­nary peo­ple and now we are faced with this ter­ri­fy­ing sit­u­a­tion. We are not wealthy so we are very con­cerned about how we are go­ing to fight this.”

She added: “Our daugh­ter is just eight weeks old and this is the time when we should have been en­joy­ing be­ing a fam­ily. In­stead, we are deal­ing with this.”

She said the past two weeks was “like some­thing you would see in a film”.

Mr Gil­lar­dian will face a hear­ing later this year, where mag­is­trates will de­cide if he will be ex­tra­dited.

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