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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Profile: Salahuddin Amin
Five men have been convicted of planning a devastating bomb attack in Britain. One of them was Salahuddin Amin - a man considered by police to be a pivot in the link between British extremists and the al-Qaeda network.

On sentencing him to life imprisonment, the trial judge told him: "The focus of your life was your support for terrorism."

Salahuddin Amin
Born in London on 3 March 1975
Moved to Pakistan aged four
Returned to Luton with family, 1991
Learned English, various jobs
Degree in product design engineering
Moved back to Pakistan
Supported "jihadi" causes
April 2004 surrendered to Pakistani authorities
Alleges he was tortured

When he returned to England, the land of his birth, at the age of 16, Salahuddin Amin may have experienced a culture shock.

He had been schooled in Pakistan since the age of four, speaking only Urdu. He had to quickly master English - but he also picked up habits that were alien to the more conservative society he left behind - drinking and dating.

Young Salahuddin was not a greatly religious man. He rarely prayed and the only trips to the mosque came to celebrate festivals.

But every summer he would go back to Pakistan for an extended summer holiday.

It was on one trip in 1999 that he heard something which was to change his life.

On a visit to the town of Murree, a resort in the hills above Rawalpindi, Amin heard an "emotional" speech about the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir.

"There were a lot of stalls on the main road - on the Mall Road," he said.

I heard a lady making an emotional speech about the atrocities that were happening in Kashmir that was under Indian rule ... and that affected me
Salahuddin Amin
"The stalls were set up by the Mujahadeen, the fighters fighting in Kashmir.

"I was walking up and down at one point I heard a lady making an emotional speech about the atrocities that were happening in Kashmir that was under Indian rule - how women were raped and kidnapped all the time and they had to move from there to Pakistani Kashmir and were in difficulties.

"She made a very emotional speech and that affected me."

Captivated by what he had heard and the alleged suffering of Muslims, he decided on his return to Luton that he would donate part of his wages towards the "cause".


Salahuddin Amin began attending militant political meetings held away from Luton's main mosque. These meetings mixed religion and politics to encourage armed support for jihadi fighters.

Investigators believe that it was at these meetings that Amin met two key men who were going to shape the coming years.

These men were developing a jihadi support network, linking British Pakistani campaigners with Mujahideen groups abroad.

In turn, the Luton circle of activists had associations with similar groups in a loose network across south-east England.

This network included Crawley - and it was Amin's meeting with Omar Khyam from that town that was to be the fateful turn.

Move to Pakistan

Amin was in Pakistan for his sister's wedding when al-Qaeda carried out its 9/11 attack on the United States.

Kashmiri fighters
Amin sympathised with the Kashmiri "struggle" against Indian rule
He later said that people were "joyful" over the attack - but that he was also shocked by the extent of the death toll.

Nevertheless, investigators say that by this stage Amin had become more involved directly in jihadi activism.

He raised 21,000 from dishonest bank loans and headed permanently for Pakistan.

But Amin was also to play a crucial role in the conspiracy. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke of the Metropolitan Police, Britain's top counter-terrorism officer, said Amin had taken on the role of "facilitator".

"He helped to arrange things. He could make things happen," says Mr Clarke. "He could receive and did receive people and money for the purpose of extremism.

"He received people into training in Pakistan. He could get advice on the technical aspects of constructing explosive devices and so he was right there in the middle of it, acting as a link between the UK end of this plot and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

As the conspiracy took shape in the UK, Khyam consulted Salahuddin Amin - including a crucial moment when he sought advice on the ratios of chemicals needed to produce a fertiliser bomb.

Torture allegations

But shortly before the police in the UK swooped on the plotters, Amin himself went on the run in Pakistan.

He later gave himself up, reportedly after assurances were given to his family. However, he says he was then tortured repeatedly through 2004 and says he was forced into false confessions.

In February 2005 he was flown back to Britain and was arrested at Heathrow airport. DAC Clarke says that Amin gave a "full and frank" interview which contributed to the strength of the case against the plotters. During the trial, Amin retracted it.

"I wasn't involved in any conspiracy at all by God. I know nothing about the other stuff by Omar Khyam and the others."

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