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UK jury acquits men accused in 2005 London transit bombings

[JURIST] A UK jury acquitted Tuesday three alleged conspirators to the July 7, 2005 bombings in London [BBC backgrounder]. Mohammed Shakil, Waheed Ali, and Sadeer Saleem were found not guilty [BBC report] of being privy to the conspiracy during a retrial after a mistrial was declared last fall when the jury could not reach a verdict. The three men were the only ones on trial for the attacks, despite evidence that pointed to the involvement of a larger group than just those who carried out the attacks. All three took a trip to London in December 2004 with two of the suicide bombers to visit a relative of Ali, where they visited tourist spots. The trip was seen as a likely scouting trip for the eventual attacks. Shakil and Ali were found guilty of attending a terrorist-training camp [MPS press release] in Malakand, Pakistan, where both knew Mohammad Siddique Khan, the orchestrator of the attacks. Attending a terrorist camp was made illegal under the Terrorist Act of 2006. Shakil and Ali will be sentenced Wednesday.

The three men were arrested in May 2007 and pleaded not guilty [JURIST reports] that August. The attacks of July 7, 2005, caused the deaths of 52 people when suicide bombers unleashed themselves on the public transit system in London at the height of the morning rush hour. The attacks were traced back to a tight-knit group who attended a mosque in Leeds, where Shakil, Ali, and Saleem also worshiped. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility [JURIST report] for the attacks two months later.

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