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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 14:01 GMT
UK suicide bomber family cleared
Cleared: Parveen and Zahid Sharif
The relatives of a would-be suicide bomber have been cleared of failing to disclose information about terrorism.

An Old Bailey jury decided the brother and sister of Omar Sharif had not known of his plan to attack an Israeli bar and could not have prevented it.

His sister Parveen Sharif, a teacher, was also cleared of inciting her brother to commit a terrorist act.

The body of Sharif, 27, of Derby, was found 12 days after he fled the scene. An accomplice's bomb killed three.

Asif Hanif, 21, a student from London, died when he blew himself up outside a popular bar in Tel Aviv in April 2003. The explosion at Mike's Place killed three people and injured more than 50.

We want to make it clear we did not know what our brother was going to do - it shocked us as much as everyone else
Zahid and Parveen Sharif

But the authorities had told the court that while Sharif failed in his attack, he had effectively informed his family of his intention to become a bomber by sending a number of e-mails in the days before the attack.

Zahid Sharif read out a statement on behalf of himself and his sister outside the court.

He said: "We want to make it clear we did not know what our brother was going to do.

"It shocked us as much as everyone else and we are still shocked.

"We are relieved and grateful to the jury and the judge for their fairness and to everyone for their kindness."

He said the case had brought up "many misunderstandings" about the family's "religion and culture", but added that people had "tried to reach out and understand".

Bombers: Asif Hanif and Omar Sharif

The case had been built around a series of e-mails.

Prior to the attack, Sharif wrote an e-mail to his brother in which he said: "Difficult times may lay ahead for you and the family.

"Plan now and get rid of any material you may consider problematic."

In the same e-mail he sent a message to his wife: "We didn't spend a long time together in this world, but I hope through Allah's mercy...we can spend an eternity together."

The following day Sharif's sister, Parveen, wrote an e-mail which said: "Don't worry about Tahira and the kids. Stay focused and determined. You have no time for emotions."

His siblings said they never suspected their brother of being a suicide bomber and thought he had travelled to Syria to study.

'Sick idea'

Parveen added that it was a "sick idea" to suggest that she sent Sharif an e-mail a week before he targeted the Israeli bar to encourage him on his mission.

Both Zahid Sharif, 37, a businessman of Upper Dale Road, and sister Parveen Sharif, 36, of Breedon Hill Road, had denied the charges against them.

In 2004, a jury cleared Omar Sharif's widow Tahira Tabassum, 28, of Northumberland Street, Derby, of failing to alert authorities to a terrorist act, but it failed to reach a verdict on Sharif's brother and sister.

The jury in the retrial has now cleared the pair.

The charges were brought under new laws that put a positive duty on people to inform the police of any impending terrorist attack, even overseas.




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