London - One of the men accused of hacking to death a British soldier in London made his first court appearance on Monday, as his co-accused attended a second hearing via videolink from prison.
Michael Adebolajo, aged 28, had a bandaged left hand and was holding a Qur'an as he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London to be formally charged with murdering soldier Lee Rigby on 22 May.
He and the other suspect, Michael Adebowale, aged 22, were shot by police during their arrest at the scene of the brutal daylight attack near the army barracks where Rigby was based in Woolwich, southeast London.
Both men are Muslim converts of Nigerian descent, and the murder is being investigated by counter-terrorism officers.
Adebolajo spent nine days in hospital before being discharged on Friday. He has been charged with the murder of the soldier and the attempted murder of two police officers and possession of a firearm.
Wearing a white T-shirt and white trousers as he appeared in the dock, he blew a kiss to a man in the public gallery, and they both pointed to the sky.
No bail application
Asked to stand at the end of the short hearing, Adebolajo said: "May I ask why? May I ask why?" When told it is customary to stand, he said: "I want to sit."
Standing, he asked Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot: "I would like to alleviate the pain if I may?" He then kissed the Qur'an and raised his arm into the air.
Adebolajo from Romford in Essex, east of London, was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London within 48 hours.
The other main suspect in the case, Adebowale, later appeared at the Old Bailey via video-link. No application was made for bail during the brief hearing, and a new court date was set for 28 June.
Adebowale, from Greenwich in southeast London, spent six days in hospital before being discharged last Tuesday. He appeared in court on Thursday charged with murder and possession of a firearm.
An inquest into Rigby's death heard that he was run over by a car before being attacked by two men armed with a cleaver and a knife, on a quiet suburban street in the middle of the afternoon.
Legal restrictions prohibit the reporting of further details.