Britain jails two who knew July 2005 suicide bombers

April 29th, 2009 - 11:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 29 (DPA) Two British Muslims described as friends of the suicide bombers behind the July 2005 attacks on London’s transport system were Wednesday jailed for seven years each for plotting to attend a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.
Waheed Ali, 25, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, were among three men cleared by the same court Tuesday of helping the bombers to select targets for the attack in London on July 7, 2005.

But they were found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to attend a training camp for terrorists in Pakistan after they were arrested trying to board a flight to Pakistan at Manchester airport two years later - in March 2007.

The third accused, Sadeer Saleem, was cleared of all charges at the trial at Kingston Crown Court in London.

But both Ali and Shakil had admitted attending terrorist training camps in the past, before such activity had been made an offence under Britain’s terrorism laws, the court heard.

They were found to be carrying camping equipment and one of the pair was attempting to travel on a false passport, the court heard.

They had also previously visited camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan together with some of the four suicide bombers.

“This was not a one-off naive frolic by a pair of dupes - you knew what you were doing,” presiding Judge Peter Henry Gross said after sentencing the two men.

“Your intention was to attend a real camp and use real guns. This was not play-acting. You were determined players,” Gross added.

During the trial the three men admitted that they were friends of the suicide bombers with whom they grew up in Leeds, northern England.

But they denied helping to prepare the bus and Underground (Tube) train bombings, in which 52 people died and more than 700 were injured.

They were the only people to be charged as a result of the massive police investigation into the bombings at an estimated cost of more than 5 million pounds ($7,3 million).

Lawyers for the two men sentenced Wednesday said their clients were victims of “guilt by association”.

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