From Luton Today and the London Evening Standard. Photograph from the Daily Mail
A man from Luton has been convicted of terrorism offences at the Old Bailey after detectives found extremist material on his mobile phone.
Mohammed Adnan Saleem, of Montrose Avenue, Luton, had banned documents – including a bomb-making manual and a file on explosives – after an investigation by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
The defendant, who has autism, claimed he had the documents for research and that he was only joking when he talked about bombing a lavatory.
Jurors were told how the stash was uncovered on the defendant’s mobile phones and computer after his family home in Luton, Bedfordshire, was searched in May 2020.
Prosecutor Maryam Syed said they contained information about guerilla warfare and detailed how to make viable explosives, the court heard. She said: “The documents recovered from the defendant’s devices contain information on guerilla warfare, IED cells, paramilitary fighters, chemicals, and procedures on how to make viable explosives.
“The titles alone, particularly in relation to bombs and explosives and assassins, show that the defendant would have been aware that it contained information that was of a kind likely to be useful to a person in committing or preparing an act of terrorism, rather than just supportive of Jihad or Al-Qaida.”
Jurors were shown a selection of videos found on his devices with images of dead men, women and children, dead American soldiers, the holding of a severed head and an execution.
Ms Syed said that he also spoke about the al-Qaida “Inspire” magazine, mentioned being a scientist and bombing toilets.
His lawyer Sultana Tafadar KC dismissed the defendant’s online chat as “Muslim boy dark humour”. She told jurors: “They make jokes about blowing themselves up – that is dark humour. A suspect community viewed with suspicion of terrorism – it is dark humour and irony. . . Why would he want to bomb a toilet, this is him talking about defecating. This is normal chatter with some humour thrown in, this is Muslim boy humour.”
The 22-year-old was found guilty of three counts of Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in court on March 14th. A jury deliberated for more than 12 hours to find him guilty of three charges relating to The Successful Pressure Cooker Bomb, Procedure to Make Explosive and How to Become an Assassin.
Hannah Wilkinson, head of ERSOU’s Counter Terrorism Policing unit, said: “Throughout our enquiries it was clear that Saleem held a dangerous extremist mindset, downloading Islamist propaganda and speaking to others about his views on jihad. In addition, he sought to use encrypted communications tools to hide his activity, which demonstrates that he knew his actions were wrong.”
Judge Anthony Leonard KC ordered a pre-sentence report and granted Saleem continued conditional bail. But the judge warned that all options remained open when he is sentenced on April 28.
Has the source of those dangerous manuals been found and permanently effaced from planet Earth?