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Prosecuting Terrorism

Terrorism, race hate, crimes against humanity, war crimes, violent extremism, hijacking and espionage cases are tackled by a specialist team of Crown Prosecutors. The Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS includes highly experienced prosecutors, advocates and caseworkers who work closely with the police to bring offenders to justice.

Find out more about how we prosecute cases of terrorism.

CPS response to Samina Malik appeal


The Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to seek a retrial in the case of Samina Malik after the Court of Appeal quashed her conviction for collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Sue Hemming, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service's Counter Terrorism Division, said: "Since Ms Malik's conviction, the law has been clarified by the Court of Appeal. The result is that some of the 21 documents we relied on in Ms Malik's trial would no longer be held capable of giving practical assistance to terrorists.

"However other documents in her possession, including 'the al-Qaida Manual', 'the Terrorist's Handbook', 'the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook' and several military manuals, clearly retain that potential.. We therefore have no doubt that it was right to bring this prosecution.

"Nevertheless, taking into account the time Ms Malik spent on remand before her first trial, and the likely non-custodial sentence she would receive upon conviction in a retrial, we have decided not to seek a retrial on those manuals.

"Ms Malik was not prosecuted for her poetry. She was prosecuted for possessing documents that could provide practical assistance to terrorists. Furthermore she was prosecuted after, working airside at Heathrow, she had supplied information about airport security procedures to Sohail Qureshi.

"That very day he was arrested trying to board a flight to Pakistan carrying equipment he admitted he was taking to terrorists in Pakistan. He later admitted he was going there to fight himself and he pleaded guilty to a terrorist offence."

  1. A Court of Appeal decision in February 2008 in the case of R v K clarified the meaning of Sec 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The court ruled that an offence would be committed only if the document or record concerned was of a kind that was likely to provide practical assistance to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. A document that simply encouraged the commission of acts of terrorism was not sufficient.
  2. In November 2007, Ms Malik was found not guilty at the Old Bailey of an offence under Sec 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (possession of an article for terrorist purposes) but guilty of an offence under Sec 58. Sec 58 says: A person commits an offence if - (a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or (b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind. The maximum sentence at Crown Court is 10 years.
  3. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8079.
  4. The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution;
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute;
    • Preparing cases for court;
    • Presentation of cases at court;

    The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007.

    More about the CPS

    The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol