UK jury convicts first suspect charged with directing terrorism

UK jury convicts first suspect charged with directing terrorism

[JURIST] A jury at the Manchester Crown Court Thursday convicted a British Muslim suspected of al Qaeda involvement on charges of directing terrorism. Rangzieb Ahmed is the first person in the UK to be convicted of this crime under the Terrorism Act of 2006 [text, PDF]. Ahmed was allegedly a high-level al Qaeda member with ties to some of the organization's leaders. He is accused of setting up a terrorist cell [BBC report] in Manchester, and he allegedly boasted of meeting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [JURIST news archive], the man accused of planning the 9/11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. Ahmed also had a book with contact information for al Qaeda leaders [Telegraph report] written in invisible ink. Ahmed will be sentenced Friday. A second man, Habib Ahmed, who is not related to Rangzieb Ahmed, was convicted of al Qaeda membership but cleared of other terrorism charges. Habib Ahmed's wife was also cleared of charges of funding terrorism.

Rangzieb Ahmed was originally charged [BBC report] in September 2007. Prosecutors told the court that he was a key member of al Qaeda [BBC report], but he denied all charges. Last moth, he told the court that he had lied about being a terrorist in order to make money [BBC report] by selling his story to a newspaper.