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article imageThe Great Terror Trial Verdict

By Alexander Baron     Feb 21, 2013 in Crime
Woolwich - On September 7, 2005, four terrorists murdered 52 innocent people and injured hundreds in a coordinated series of suicide attacks in London. Two years ago, three more planned an encore.
Actually, another group of wannabes tried to follow up on the 7/7 cell a mere two weeks later. Fortunately, their bombs failed to explode, for whatever reason. They are now serving heavy sentences. Last September, they launched an appeal claiming they had not intended to explode bombs but instead to carry out a high profile hoax.
The trial of Ashik Ali, Irfan Khalid and Irfan Naseer opened October 22 last year at Woolwich Crown Court. They were charged with engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts between December 2010 and September 2011.
This is one of many new supposedly anti-terrorism laws passed in recent years with the rise of Islamist terrorism. This particular one is part of the Terrorism Act, 2006, and like the vast majority of this new legislation is totally superfluous because conduct of the nature with which they were charged is already covered by existing laws.
A total of 12 arrests had been made in September 2011. This operation had resulted in six men pleading guilty to preparing for acts of terrorism, four of whom had been recruited to travel to Pakistan to receive training in terrorism. Two others had pleaded guilty to raising funds for the purposes of terrorism.
Murder and mayhem aside, the most despicable part of this nascent terrorist plot was how the money for it had been raised. They had used the pretext of collecting funds for a bona fide Islamic charity; zakat is the third of the five pillars of Islam.
The man who might be described as the group's treasurer decided to "invest" their booty in a very un-Islamic fashion, by speculating in foreign exchange, and managed to lose £9,000. To cover their tracks, they donated a total of around £2,500 to Muslim Aid and a local Islamic school.
The case was prosecuted by Brian Altman QC, who also handled the honey trap murder and both murder trials of now convicted serial killer Levi Bellfield.
It is clear from the Crown's opening statement that the authorities were onto the plotters from fairly early on, some of their conversations having been taped covertly inside a so-called safe house, and in vehicles they were using.
The trial proceeded at a very slow pace with few meaningful media reports after the initial one, now, February 21, 2013, after nearly 4 months, and hearing all manner of allegations, the jury has returned its verdicts, having been sent out by the judge on February 13.
Case number T20127341 was concluded in Court 2 when all three were convicted. One of the three Birmingham defendants, ringleader Irfan Naseer, put forward the somewhat bizarre defence that he had only posed as a terrorist, the reason for this being that he had been the subject of rumours that he was a Pakistani spy. Which was presumably why he made a martyrdom video.
In his closing speech, Mr Altman said the three men had told "a series of outrageous and outlandish lies", lies that were exposed by their own recorded words. "There can hardly be a jury in this country that has been treated to more manufactured nonsense than this," he suggested.
In addition to planting bombs, the men were said to have planned to attack - and presumably murder - British soldiers.
Irfan Naseer  Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali photographed before their conviction.
Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali photographed before their conviction.
An offocial release
The evidence that they did anything more than talk was sparse; they were said to have bought sports injury packs that contained chemicals that were "useful" for making bombs, but if that is considered incriminating evidence, one must ask where that leaves the recently retired Rebecca Adlington, tennis champion Andy Murray, and everyone who works at Chelsea Football Club.
Having said that, there appears to have been ample evidence of both their preparation for whatever attacks they would eventually have carried out (or not) and of their attempts to recruit others. Clearly the authorities gave them plenty of rope, and there was no sign that any of them were having second thoughts. They have not yet been sentenced, but the judge warned them they can expect life sentences.
A still from a police video of the arrest of the Birmingham terror cell. The man pictured here is ri...
A still from a police video of the arrest of the Birmingham terror cell. The man pictured here is ringleader Irfan Naseer.
More about Ashik Ali, Islamists, Islamism, Terrorism, Irfan Khalid
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