Former British rapper Abdel Bary, accused of heading a terror cell, is found dead in Spanish prison

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A former British rap artist who allegedly became a jihadist in Syria where he was accused of posting a photo of a victim’s severed head has died in custody while awaiting a trial verdict in Spain, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary was found dead in a Spanish prison Wednesday, the ministry said. The cause of death is yet to be confirmed. The former rap artist was detained at Puerto III prison in the southern Spanish city of El Puerto de Santamaría, The Associated Press has learned.

Abdel Bary was arrested in 2020 when he was accused of heading a jihadist terror cell and charged with illegal financing of terrorism. He faced up to 9 years in prison in a trial that concluded on July 14, and was awaiting a verdict.

A prison officer who maintained daily contact with Abdel Bary said that his body showed no signs of violence.

Abdel Bary had been under strict rules that included 20 hours a day of solitary confinement. He had not been a problem inmate and was not on any psychiatric treatment, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Abdel Bary, 32, left London in 2013 to join an Al Qaeda faction and later ISIS militias in Syria. He made a name for himself on social media sites by showing himself clutching the severed head of one of his alleged victims.

Before joining Islamic militants in Syria, Abdel Bary performed as a rapper under the name Jinn.

He was the son of an Egyptian operative of al-Qaeda who was convicted for events related to the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people. Abdel Bary stopped making music not long after his father’s extradition to the U.S. on terror charges.

Spanish police arrested Abdel Bary and two other men in April 2020, shortly after they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on a skiff from Algeria.

He was accused of leading a jihadist terror cell formed by him and the two other men, dedicated to committing internet banking scams and trafficking in cryptocurrencies to “finance their terrorist activities.”

Abdel Bary denied being a cell leader during the trial.

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