BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 11:31 GMT
Terror manuals woman avoids jail
Samina Malik (Pic: Met Police)
Samina Malik posted extremist poems on the internet

A woman who called herself a "Lyrical Terrorist" has been given a nine-month suspended jail sentence.

Samina Malik, 23, from Southall, west London, had worked at a branch of WH Smith at Heathrow Airport.

She was found guilty at the Old Bailey of owning terrorist pamphlets, including The Al-Qaeda Manual.

The jury was told a "library" of extremist Islamist literature was found in her bedroom and Malik had written poems praising Osama Bin Laden.

Malik is the first woman to be convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Her sentence is suspended for 18 months and she will have to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work in the community. She will also be under supervision for the whole 18 months.

She had earlier been found not guilty of the more serious charge, under Section 57 of the Act, of possessing an article for a terrorist purpose. She denied the charges.

Adopted nickname

Malik had posted her poems on websites under the screen name the Lyrical Terrorist, prosecutors said.

She said the poems were "meaningless", but prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said: "These communications strongly indicate Samina Malik was deeply involved with terrorist-related groups."

The court also heard she had written on the back of a WH Smith till receipt: "The desire within me increases every day to go for martyrdom."

Malik told the jury she only adopted her "Lyrical Terrorist" nickname because she thought it was "cool" and insisted she was not a terrorist.

The Recorder of London, Judge Peter Beaumont QC, said Malik's offence was "on the margin".

Samina's so-called poetry was certainly offensive but I don't believe this case should really have been a criminal matter
Muhammed Abdul Bari,
Muslim Council of Britain

He said: "The Terrorism Act and the restrictions it imposes on personal freedom exist to protect this country, its interest here and abroad, its citizens and those who visit here.

"Its protection embraces us all, its restrictions apply to us all whatever our personal, religious or political beliefs.'

"In my judgement your offence is on the margin of what this crime concerns."

Malik's lawyer, Iqbal Ahmed read a statement on her behalf outside the Old Bailey following the sentencing.

He said: "What she'd like to say is that the trial process has been a terrible ordeal for her, and she's now relieved it's all over.

"The jury found that she did not have the material for terrorist purposes, which was an important part of her case. She now wants to get on with her life."

Not criminal

Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Muhammed Abdul Bari, told the Times he did not think the case should have reached court.

"Many young people download objectionable material from the internet, but it seems if you are a Muslim then this could lead to criminal charges, even if you have absolutely no intention to do harm to anyone else.

"Samina's so-called poetry was certainly offensive but I don't believe this case should really have been a criminal matter."

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson said: "Samina Malik was not prosecuted for writing poetry.

"Ms Malik was convicted of collecting information, without reasonable excuse, of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

"This information included terrorism and poison handbooks as well as military manuals and other material likely to be useful to someone planning terrorist activity."


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific