A MAN is facing court over claims he slashed two friends when they sympathised with murdered soldier Lee Rigby.

Ziko Sulliman - from Sudan - is said to have attacked his friends as they chatted days after the gunner's death.

Sulliman appeared in court today (June 6) on charges of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, wounding and having a blade.

The 27-year-old, of Aire Street, Middlesbrough, did not enter any pleas during the five-minute hearing at Teesside Crown Court.

He appeared via a live video-link from Holme House Prison, in nearby Stockton, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans.

Saying "yes" each time, he spoke only to confirm his name and to say he could clearly hear the proceedings across the television link.

Judge Peter Bowers remanded Sulliman in custody until a plea and case management hearing which is scheduled for mid-August.

Defence solicitor Andrew Teate said: "He requires an Arabic interpreter and there is no doubt he will need that interpretation for at least the next hearing and then a trial or sentencing exercise.

"It is quite clear his English is extremely limited. It is, quite frankly, impossible to take his instructions and this is not an appropriate time for him to enter a plea.

"At this stage, it would be impossible and unfair to say whether it will be a trial."

Sulliman is alleged to have knifed the two men in Fife Street, Middlesbrough, on May 29 - a week after Drummer Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich, south London.

Two men have been charged with the 25-year-old soldier's murder, and have been remanded in custody. No pleas have been entered.

One of Sulliman's alleged victims, Zakaria Hamed, suffered a three-inch wound to his cheek and was stabbed in the leg.

And the other, Khalid Osman, is said to have been slashed across the hand.

Both men were treated in hospital.