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The Counter-Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - cases concluded in 2009

Included in the list below is a brief summary of the cases which have been concluded in 2009. It should be noted that, as a general rule, a defendant is entitled to a one third discount on his sentence if he pleads guilty at the earliest opportunity, with a sliding scale for guilty pleas which are entered later than that. If a defendant is found guilty after trial, the Court can consider the maximum tariff to be available, subject to any personal mitigation that may be submitted on the defendant's behalf. Where a life sentence has been imposed, the tariff shown as the minimum sentence is the time to be served before parole can be considered. Some life sentences are shown as indefinite in which case it is for the Parole Board to monitor the defendant's progress towards a time when he can be considered for release.

Nathan Worrell

The defendant had lived in Grimsby since 2001. He was a racist who followed the political views of the National Socialist or Nazi Party and in furtherance of his beliefs that this country belongs exclusively to the indigenous (white) people, he stated that he was fighting for this country, believing in forced, but peaceful, repatriation.

Living nearby were a mixed race couple; the husband was of Bangladeshi descent. In 2007 the couple had a daughter and around this time the defendant began posting racist stickers on the rear gate of their home and on a lamp post adjacent to their gate. This continued for several months until January 2008. In particular a sticker: 'Only inferior white women date outside of their race. Be proud of your race, don't be a race mixing slut'. These stickers caused harassment, alarm or distress to the couple.

Police searched the defendant's flat on 24 January 2008 and found not only evidence linking him to the racist stickers, but also documents for making explosives, incendiary devices and booby traps, together with chemicals and other materials to assist in such preparation, as well as notes written by him which showed that he was committed to the use of violence in furtherance of his beliefs.

On 12 December 2008 he was convicted after trial of two counts, namely of racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress to the couple referred to above contrary to section 31(1) (b) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and for possession of articles for terrorist purposes under section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

He was sentenced on the same day to a total of 7 years and 3 months imprisonment. He appealed against this sentence but it was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 14 May 2009.

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Jamal Ahmed

On 30 July 2008 the defendant called Government offices in the United States to report that a chemical bomb had been placed at a location called 'Frankie's' in the Times Square Area of Manhattan, New York City. He claimed to be a member of the Pakistan Intelligence Service. The call was taken seriously with several addresses being evacuated, the street being sealed off from traffic and a large number of emergency personnel deployed to deal with a potential bomb attack.

On 31 July 2008 the defendant called the Home Office switchboard claiming to have information about a chemical bomb in Westminster. Again he claimed to be a member of the Pakistan Intelligence Service. In this call, as before, he provided details about the bomb and how it would be detonated. He made a second call stating that the bomb would be detonated at 3 pm at Marylebone Station.

The defendant was tracked down via the telephone numbers and in police interview admitted that he had made the calls. He pleaded guilty to 2 counts of making hoax bomb calls and was sentenced on 25 September 2009. In relation to the New York offence he was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment and in relation to the London offence he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, to run consecutively. His total sentence was 4 years' imprisonment. The sentencing judge made it clear that deterrence was a factor in sentencing, as well as giving recognition to the disruption and distress the defendant had caused to the people of Manhattan on 30 July 2008.

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Aranachalam Chrishanthakumar aka Shanthan

The defendant was a Tamil from Sri Lanka. He was a supporter of a terrorist organisation called the Liberation of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). They are more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers.

The LTTE has been involved in the bitter struggle for an independent homeland for the Tamil people in the north-east of the island of Sri Lanka for over 30 years. The LTTE is a proscribed organisation under the Terrorism Act; this means it is banned in the UK. Membership of the LTTE became illegal here in 2001 and this also includes any activity in support of that group, including fundraising and the procurement of equipment for the organisation.

The defendant was convicted after trial of two counts; the first related to a conspiracy to receive and supply goods between March 2003 and June 2006. He coordinated the sending of goods to Sri Lanka using money that came from Tamil support and the LTTE itself in the UK. A wide variety of goods were supplied, including toughnote computers, electrical components and high powered torches. At all times he acted on the orders of the LTTE. It was a deliberate and protracted breach of section 5 the Terrorism Act 2006. The second count related to receiving a quantity of literature and manuals for terrorist purposes contrary to section 15(2) and section 22 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The defendant had had regular contact with Special Branch and supplied information about the LTTE. However, he was simultaneously deceiving Special Branch about his own involvement in the supply of goods.

It was accepted by the sentencing judge that his actions were solely to assist the LTTE in the peace process and that he had done a great deal of good for Tamils in the UK. The sentencing judge noted that he was not satisfied however that the items supplied were for the LTTE military rather than civilian use.

The defendant was sentenced on 12 June 2009 to 2 years' imprisonment on the conspiracy count and 1 year to run concurrently on the second count

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Mohammed Abushamma

The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of preparing for acts of terrorism contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 . He was sentenced on 17 June 2009 to three and a half years imprisonment.

He had travelled to Turkey in April 2008, together with a companion. Whilst in Istanbul he had sent an email to his family which made clear his intention to travel to Afghanistan to assist the insurgents against the coalition forces. In preparation for that he obtained a visa for onward travel to Tajikistan, which has a border with Afghanistan.

He and his companion were intercepted by the authorities and returned voluntarily to the United Kingdom on 22 April 2009 after leaving Turkey.

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Neil Lewington

On 30 October 2008 the defendant travelled from reading to Lowestoft on trains in order to meet a woman whom he had met on an internet dating site.

The defendant was travelling with a holdall and during the course of the journey was drinking cans of lager on the train. He was verbally abusive to the train guards and other passengers. As a consequence the police were called to arrest him at Lowestoft station. When the defendant got off the train at Lowestoft he was seen to place the holdall on the floor whilst urinating in public. He was arrested at 1445 hours that day under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

When the defendant was taken to Lowestoft police station his holdall was searched and a number of items were found in the holdall which raised the police's suspicions. Some of the items in the holdall were component parts to an improvised explosive device (bomb), a small screwdriver and 2 metal hooked instruments, a black Samsung mobile phone with a picture images on it containing racist comments, a set of keys and several handwritten notes containing lists which related to components of improvised explosive devices (bombs).

In relation to his home address in Reading which he shared with his parents, a search of his bedroom resulted in a number of component parts to an improvised explosive device (bomb) as well as a number of instruction manuals on how to make improvised explosive devices (bombs).

The defendant was indicted on the following counts:

Count 1 - Engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

Count 2 - Possessing articles for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism, contrary to section 57(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Count 3 - Possessing documents or records containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Count 4 - Possessing explosive substances with intent, contrary to section 3(1)(b) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

Count 5 - Possessing articles for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism, contrary to section 57(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Count 6 - Possessing documents or records containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Count 7 - Collecting information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Count 8 - Possessing explosives, contrary to section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

Following a trial the defendant was convicted on 15 July 2009 of counts 1-6 and count 8. On 8 September 2009 he was sentenced to a total of 6 years' imprisonment, less the time he had spent on remand.

Wakid Ali, Mohamed Shakil and Sadeer Saleem

Ali and Shakil were arrested on the 22nd March 2007 at Manchester Airport. They were about to board a flight to Pakistan where they had planned to attend a terrorist training camp. Saleem was arrested later that day at his home address.

It was alleged that Ali, Saleem and Shakil had conspired with Mohammed Siddique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussain (the 7/7 bombers) to cause explosions on the Transport for London System. The specific detail of the allegation was that they with Jermaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussein conducted a reconnaissance of possible targets for the bombings in London on the 16th and 17th December 2004.

The defendants were first tried in 2008 on one count of conspiracy to cause an explosion, contrary to section 3(1)(a) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883. The jury were unable to reach verdicts in this trial and were discharged.

A retrial took place in January 2009. After a further review of the evidence a decision was made to add a second count to the indictment alleging that at the time of their arrest in March 2007 Ali and Shakil were conspiring to attend a place for training under section 8(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

All three were acquitted of the conspiracy to cause explosions but Ali and Shakil were convicted of conspiracy to attend a place for training and on the 29th April 2009 were sentenced to 7 years' imprisonment

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Daniel James

The defendant was born in Tehran in 1962 and came to England in 1977/78. He held dual Iranian/British nationality and changed his name by deed poll in 1997 from Esmail Mohammed Beigi Gamasai to Daniel James. In 1987 the defendant joined the Territorial Army and in Spring 2006 he was deployed to Afghanistan. He worked as an army interpreter speaking Farsi and Dari. Initially he was assigned to work at a training unit. However, he was subsequently re-assigned to act as the personal interpreter for General David Richards, the Officer Commanding the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) HQ in Afghanistan.

As a trusted interpreter for General Richards in his position as Commander of ISAF, the defendant was in a unique and privileged position. He had access to areas and information that no other soldier of Corporal rank, whether in the T.A. or the Regular Army, would have due to his working alongside the General.

During the latter part of 2006 the defendant's loyalty towards the UK and the Army seemed to waiver and he was heard to express pro-Iranian and anti-American sentiments. It was at this time, in about September 2006, that the defendant started communicating with Colonel Heydari, a military assistant working in the Iranian Embassy in Kabul, whom he had met on a visit to the Embassy during the course of his official duties as General Richards' interpreter.

The defendant and Colonel Heydari began emailing each other in September 2006 and a large number of emails and telephone calls took place between them between September and December 2006, with the defendant using a secret email address. The information in the e-mail exchanges was comparatively limited and of a somewhat imprecise and general nature, but it was clear that the defendant was trying to become an agent for Iran by providing what he thought was useful secret and military information that he had obtained whilst serving with the Army in Afghanistan.

The defendant was arrested in December 2006. The concern in this case was not so much the actual damage done by the known disclosure of information, but in the potential damage that could have occurred if the defendant's activities had not been curtailed by his early detection and arrest.

Following a trial the defendant was convicted on 5 November 2008 of one count of communicating information to another, contrary to section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911. He was sentenced on 28 November 2008 to 10 years' imprisonment.

He appealed against his sentence but the appeal was dismissed on 25 June 2009.

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Isa Ibrahim

The defendant was a British-born convert to Islam. He was arrested on 17 April 2008 after he sustained noticeable explosive-type injuries to his hands and feet and having also been heard by members of his local Muslim community to express radical views, including voicing his support for suicide bombers. He was found to have manufactured HMTD (an unstable, peroxide-based explosive) at his home address in Bristol, where he had also sewn 2 suicide vests, constructed an electrical detonator from light bulbs, wire and batteries and collected shrapnel. Notes of a reconnaissance visit to a local shopping centre were found on his phone. Analysis of his computer showed he had collected explosive recipes and other bomb-making instructions from the internet and had spent many hours viewing violent, extremist material.

He was indicted on one count of possession of an explosive substance with intent, contrary to section 3(1)(b) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883, one count of engaging in conduct with the intention to commit acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and one count of possessing articles for terrorist purposes, contrary to section 57(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

After trial the defendant was convicted in September 2009 of the explosive substance count and the section 5(1) count. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for both counts, to serve a minimum of 10 years.

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Pa Modou Jobe

On 15 December 2006 police officers attended the defendant's work address in Birmingham and arrested him for an unrelated matter. During the course of that investigation he was searched and a number of items were found on him, including a Sony Ericsson mobile phone, a Motorola mobile phone and an Ipod. These items were examined. As a result of this the defendant's home address was also searched and a number of items were found there, including a laptop and a very large collection of 86 DVDs/CDs.

The defendant was found to be in possession of a vast quantity of extremist ideological and training material. The common theme amongst the material was to encourage the audience to wage war against non-Muslims. Parts of the collection refer to ideological warfare, parts to purely theological methods and parts give explicit direction to commit acts of terrorism.

On 7 February 2008 the defendant initially pleaded guilty to 4 counts of possessing articles that would be of use to someone committing, preparing or instigating an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, but he unsuccessfully sought to retract his pleas following the rulings in the cases of R v K and R v Zafar and Others on 13 February 2008.

He appealed to the Court of Appeal who allowed his appeal. The Crown duly appealed the Court of Appeal's decision. The House of Lords allowed the Crown's appeal and refused to allow the defendant to retract his plea. On 20 April 2009 the defendant was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months on each of the 4 counts, to run concurrently.

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Hassan Tabbakh

On 18 December 2007 the police arrested the defendant and on searching his flat found in a cupboard; 3 bottles, fertilizer and other chemicals, together with detailed handwritten bomb-making instructions written in Arabic. The defendant was charged with the preparation of terrorist acts contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006. He had gone some but limited way towards assembling the ingredients, which were of poor grade and would not have in fact exploded. He had also yet to make or obtain a detonator.

The defendant was convicted after trial of the above offence and was sentenced to 7 years' imprisonment. He appealed against his conviction and sentenced and on 3 March 2009 both appeals were dismissed. His appeal against conviction was on the basis that the trial judge had ruled that it was open to the jury to draw adverse inferences from the fact that the defendant did not give evidence at his trial. The defendant contended that the judge should have held that his physical or mental condition was such as to make it undesirable for him to give evidence.

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Kevin Gardner

The defendant was sentenced to 3.5 years detention in a Young Offenders' Institute in January 2005 for a number of offences. It was while serving his sentence in Stoke Heath Young Offenders Institution that he converted to Islam. He was seen from time to time by the visiting Imam, whom he expressed strong and extremist views to about Islam.

A number of documents were seized from the defendant's cell at Stoke Heath that demonstrated his detailed and determined approach to collecting information connected with explosives and how their chemical constituents could be obtained and combined. Documents containing plans for co-ordinated attacks on UK military bases were also found in his cell. The defendant also carried out chemical experiments in his cell.

At the time the defendant was suffering from schizophrenia but this was not considered a sufficient reason or defence for his actions as it was clear that the defendant had a real interest in extreme violence in the name of Islam.

In October 2006 the defendant was transferred to an adult prison where he befriended a fellow prisoner and tried to convert him to Islam and get him to assist him with his various terrorist attacks that he had planned. The fellow prisoner refused and considered the defendant to be dangerous.

Similar material was found in his cell in the adult prison and on 2 February 2007 he was finally arrested and charged with one count of preparing for acts of terrorism contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and one count of collecting information likely to be useful to a terrorist contrary to section 58(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2000. In June 2007 he was transferred to Ashworth Hospital High Secure Unit.

The defendant initially pleaded not guilty to both counts and lengthy legal arguments followed relating to what constituted a "terrorist purpose" and "reasonable excuse" in relation to section 58 of the Terrorist Act 2000 following the ruling in the case of R v K in February 2008. The Court of Appeal ruled that a section 58 offence was not made out here.

The Crown appealed to the House of Lords who allowed the appeal, and on 8 April 2009 at Manchester Crown Court the defendant changed his plea to guilty in relation to the section 58 offence. On 28 July 2009 the defendant was sentenced to a hospital order with an unlimited restriction order attached following a psychiatric assessment. Count 1 (the section 5 offence) was to lie on file.

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Houria Chentouf

The defendant, a Dutch National, was born in Morocco, moved to Holland at the age of 18 and then moved to the UK in 2008. On 16 October 2008 she had flown from The Netherlands to John Lennon Airport, Liverpool. She was stopped and her property searched shortly after her arrival at the airport. A USB pen drive dropped out of the right sleeve of her burqa, which she had tried to conceal. Following the port examination she was allowed to leave the airport but the pen drive was retained for further enquiries.

Examination of the contents of the pen drive revealed that 90% of the material on it was in Arabic or Dutch and that approximately 6,500 folders and files were put onto the pen drive just before she had travelled to Liverpool.

Some of the material on the pen drive included detailed information about the construction of improvised explosive devices (bombs) in a document entitled "The Explosives Manual for the Brothers of Al-Mujahadeen", a chart covering different aspects of guerrilla and terrorist organisational behaviour entitled "The Strategy of Mujahadeen in the Base of the Infidels", information on the role of women in support of jihad, documents containing guides to building electronic detonators, the uses of heat and cluster bombs, how and when to use smart bombs, the use of cruise missiles, information on fighter jets, information on martyrdom operations, pages from a terrorist tradecraft manual, documents on securing and encrypting communications via the internet and telephone, documents on setting up training camps, an instructional document over 1000 pages long relating to explosives and improvised explosive devices (bombs) and a photo of a group of males one of whom was a known terrorist.

When she was interviewed the defendant initially claimed that she had found the pen drive in the street some time ago and had used it as a key ring and to save information on. She denied seeing or saving the information contained on the pen drive relating to training courses, weapons and explosives.

The defendant eventually pleaded guilty to 2 counts of possessing a document of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and was sentenced on 2 November 2009 to 2 years imprisonment for each offence, to run concurrently. In his sentencing remarks the judge remarked that had the defendant been convicted of these offences after a trial, she would have been sentenced to 2 1/2 years imprisonment, but she was given a discount of just less than a third as a result of her guilty plea (albeit at a late stage) and her mental health status.

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Faisal Saddiquie

On 9 September 2007 Saddiquie and an associate were arrested at an address in Sheffield.

Saddiquie's associate had been subject to a control order since 4 July 2007 pursuant to the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. Some of the obligations of the control order were as follows:

  1. To reside at a specified address in Leicester.
  2. Not to leave the county of Leicestershire.
  3. Not to bring into the residence, keep, or use any communications equipment or equipment capable of connection to the internet or components thereof.

Saddiquie had collected his associate from the residence in Leicester and drove him to the address in Sheffield. Approximately eight minutes after they both entered the Sheffield property, the police forced an entry and arrested them.

During the eight minute period that they were in the property a laptop, which was found at Saddiquie's feet, had been switched on and the encryption key had been partially entered. Saddiquie refused to provide the encryption code to the police. An Al Qaeda training manual was eventually found deleted on the laptop.

Saddiquie's home address was later searched and a computer, a laptop and hard drives were found in his bedroom containing several terrorist related documents including the following:

  1. The Encyclopaedia of Jihad.
  2. A document entitled "Homemade detonators, how to make them, how to salvage them, how to detonate them".
  3. A document entitled "Car Bomb Recognition".
  4. A Guerilla's Arsenal.
  5. Principles of Improvised Explosive Devices.
  6. Middle Eastern Terrorist Bomb Design.
  7. Documents relating to Port and Harbour Terminal Security and how to penetrate these facilities.
  8. A document entitled "Nuclear Reactor Facilities" which deals with aspects of their security and how to breach it.
  9. The AQ Training manual.
  10. The White Resistance Manual which details how to make high explosives.

Saddiquie was initially indicted for conspiracy to breach a control order contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977, aiding and abetting the breach of a control order contrary to s.9(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, eight counts of possessing a document of a kind likely to be useful to a terrorist contrary to s.58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000 and three counts of failing to comply with a notice under s.49 of the Regulation of Investigatory powers Act 2000 by not disclosing encryption codes.

In March 2009 Saddiquie pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breach a control order and two s.58 Terrorism Act 2000 offences. He was sentenced to a total of 2.5 years' imprisonment.

(Note: The control order that forms the subject of this case was revoked on 31 July 2009 and the case relating to this and Saddiquie's three co-defendants, who all pleaded not guilty to breaching the control order, was dropped in September 2010).

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Mohammed Nadim, Shahid Ali, Mohammed Shabir and Abdul Raheem

On 31 January 2007 a number of individuals were arrested in relation to their involvement in a plot to kidnap and kill a Muslim British soldier. The leader of this cell was Parviz Khan who, together with three others pleaded guilty to their part in this offence in January 2008 and they were all sentenced to lengthy custodial sentences. In January 2008 Khan and two of his co-defendants also pleaded guilty (and a third co-defendant was convicted after trial) to purchasing various items from the UK which were shipped as cargo to Pakistan to be used by those fighting the Coalition Forces, contrary to s.5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

On 21 October 2008 four further individuals: Mohammed Nadim, Shahid Ali, Mohammed Shabir and Abdul Raheem, were arrested for helping Khan in the past by obtaining items for the Pakistan cargo and helping him get other cargo packages ready for transportation.

Nadim, Ali and Shabir were all charged with engaging in conduct with the intention of assisting in the commission of acts of terrorism and Raheem (a Muslim youth leader who was found to have various terrorist publications on his computer when he was arrested) was charged with having information which he knew or believed might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of an act of terrorism by another person and failed to disclose it as soon as reasonably practicable, contrary to s.38B(1)(a) and (2) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

All four men pleaded guilty on 9 March 2009 and were sentenced as follows:

  1. Nadim - three years' imprisonment.
  2. Ali - two years' three months' imprisonment.
  3. Shabir - two years' three months' imprisonment.
  4. Raheem - 12 months' imprisonment.

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Shella Roma

Roma faced allegations under s.2 of the Terrorism Act 2006, dissemination of a terrorist publication.

Roma wrote a leaflet called "The Call", which called upon its readers to join the ranks of Osama bin Laden and to take up arms against the US and the UK. The document also claimed that 9/11 was part of a larger conspiracy designed to smear Muslims.

She came to the attention of the police when she went to a print shop to copy her work. The shop owner checked the print quality of the copies and, in so doing, read its contents. He was alarmed at what he saw and he retained a copy which he later handed to the police.

The police located Roma and when the police went to her address they found over a hundred copies of the document stored in a box. There were also plans to hold seminars and discussion groups at which the document would be distributed.

Roma pleaded guilty to the s.2 Terrorism Act charge in January 2009 and received a three year community order with a two year supervision requirement. Roma, who was 29 at the time of sentence and a mother of a young child, had been suffering from a recognised psychiatric condition.

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Ali Beheshti, Abrar Mirza and Abbas Taj

Between 2002 and 2007 an American author named Shelley Jones researched and wrote a book entitled "The Jewel of Medina". The novel is an account of the love story between the Prophet Mohammed and his favourite wife Aisha. This book was to be published by a well known US publishing company, Random House, but in July 2008 Random House withdrew from the proposed publication as they were fearful of possible repercussions from radical elements within the Muslim community.

On 8 September 2008 another publishing company, Gibson Square Ltd, a firm that operates from Lonsdale Square in Islington, announced on their website that they were going to publish the novel. The firm's operating address is actually the publisher's home address and he ran his business out of the basement of his address. The property is a residential address in a terraced street with the neighbouring properties being either houses or flats.

A still image of the publisher's address was taken on 9 September 2008 and was found on Mirza's mobile telephone, which was located in Taj's vehicle. It was taken during a hostile reconnaissance visit conducted by Mirza and Taj late that night, when both the publisher and his wife were at home. There was a second hostile reconnaissance trip by Mirza and Beheshti on 14 September 2008 that was believed to have taken place at about 3pm in the afternoon. It was a Sunday and the publisher and his wife would have been at home on that occasion as well.

Beheshti was captured at a Shell Petrol Station purchasing diesel on 25 September 2008 and observations that were conducted on all three men the day after revealed that they were planning an arson attack on the Lonsdale Square property.

In the early hours of the morning of 26 September 2008 all three men were seen driving to Lonsdale Square. Mirza was seen approaching the door of the property and pouring something through the letterbox. Beheshti was acting as a look out and he then joined Mirza at the door where they were seen to bend down together at the door. The door to the property was then seen on fire. Both men were then seen to walk away carrying the white carrier bag that contained the green canister that Beheshti had filled with diesel the previous day.

All three men were arrested. Mirza admitted that what he was doing was an act of arson in protest against "The Jewel of Medina" being published. Beheshti and Taj said nothing in interview but later Beheshti made a statement indicating his sole intention was to involve himself in protest, nothing more.

On 21 April 2009 Beheshti and Mirza entered pleas of guilty to the charge of conspiracy to damage property and being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. On 15 May 2009 Taj was found guilty of the same offence after a trial.

On 7 July 2009 all three men were sentenced to 4.5 years' imprisonment.

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