Two Muslim converts due in court over Lee Rigby's killing

LONDON Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:03am GMT

1 of 2. The coffin of Fusilier Lee Rigby is carried by members of his regiment after his funeral service at the parish church in Bury, northern England July 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis

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LONDON (Reuters) - Two Muslim converts accused of hacking to death a British soldier in broad daylight on a London street go on trial this week in a case that has shocked many in Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron described the killing at the time as a betrayal of Islam and an attack on the British way of life.

Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, a veteran of the Afghan war, was killed on May 22 not far from an army barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, a murder that provoked disgust and fears of an anti-Muslim backlash.

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as "multiple incised wounds".

Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, will appear at London's Old Bailey central criminal court to deny murdering Rigby, conspiracy to murder a police officer and the attempted murder of a police officer.

Monday's court session is due to be taken up by legal argument and the swearing in of the 12-member jury with the pair unlikely to be called until at least Tuesday.

Both suspects have used their Islamic names - Mujahid Abu Hamza for Adebolajo and Ismail Ibn Abdullah for Adebowale - during pre-trial hearings.

Thousands of people including veterans in uniform lined the street of Rigby's home town of Bury in northern England for his funeral in July. Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson joined the mourners for the service.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden)

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