Three men acquitted of 7/7 terror charges in London


London : Three British Muslims were Tuesday cleared of charges of helping the terror bombers whose suicide mission four years ago left 52 people dead and nearly 1,000 wounded in the heart of London.

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A jury at Kingston Crown Court in London unanimously acquitted Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil – the only people to be charged in the July 2005 bombings – of the charge of helping the four suicide bombers cause explosions.

The three men had all previously attended terror training camps in Pakistan – two of them with Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings that targeted London’s buses and underground trains.

Bangladeshi-born Ali and Pakistani-born Shakil were arrested in 2007 as they were about to board a flight to Pakistan.

The trio spent two days in December 2004 in London with one of the 7/7 bombers, Hasib Hussain, before being joined by another of the 7/7 attackers, Jermaine Lindsay.

But all three men denied charges of conspiracy and said they were on a sightseeing trip that was planned because Ali wanted to visit his sister and the others wanted to see some of the British capital’s landmarks.

They went on the London Eye giant wheel and visited the Natural History Museum and the London Aquarium, but the prosecution alleged they conducted a “hostile reconnaissance” of potential targets.

Police were able to establish that all five men – the three accused and the two 7/7 bombers – had been in London Dec 16 and 17, and mapped their movement across the city by tracing cellphone calls.

However, there was no CCTV footage to show what they had been doing or whether the three accused had been in underground stations, prompting the jury to set them free after a three-month trial.

Andy Hayman, Britain’s most senior anti-terrorism police officer at the time of the attacks, said: “I have no doubt in my mind that Mohammed Sidique Khan and the other three bombers had significant assistance from other people in this country and overseas.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says 75 percent of all terrorist cases in Britain have a Pakistani connection – a charge he repeated during a trip to Pakistan Monday.