Radical preacher Anjem Choudary protests his innocence in court

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary gave a 20-minute speech protesting his innocence as he appeared in the court dock charged with inviting support for Islamic State (IS).

Choudary was arrested last year by officers from the Metropolitan Police's counter terrorism command.

It is alleged that between June 29 last year and March 6 this year, Choudary invited support for the proscribed organisation Isil, also known as Isis or Islamic State, contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

It is claimed that he encouraged support for the banned terror group in social media posts on the internet.

The bearded preacher, 48, wore a white gown and glasses and smiled as he walked in to the dock at London's Westminster Magistrates Court.

He chose to represent himself and spoke confidently as he outlined his indication to plead not guilty, waving around notes relating to his case.

Choudary, of Hampton Road, Ilford in east London, gesticulated and pointed to the court room as he made the 20-minute speech from the dock.

Several of his friends watched from the public gallery while the press benches were full for the hearing.

He appeared alongside Mohammed Rahman, 32, of Sidney Street in Whitechapel, east London, who is also accused of inviting support for IS over the same dates.

Rahman wore grey tracksuit bottoms and a navy hoodie as he sat next to Choudary, surrounded by three dock officers and two suited police officers.

Both defendants smiled at each other and refused to stand as the chief magistrate Howard Riddle left the court.

Both men were arrested on September 25 last year on suspicion of being members of the proscribed organisation.

Choudary was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on August 28.

Choudary had asked for the case to be heard at the magistrates court, but the chief magistrate declined jurisdiction and sent it to the crown court.

Rahman was also remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on August 28.