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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 18:07 GMT
Man jailed over terrorism charges
Sohail Qureshi
Sohail Qureshi: Under surveillance
A man in e-mail contact with so-called "lyrical terrorist" Samina Malik has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years after admitting three terror charges.

Al Qaeda-trained Sohail Qureshi, 30, was arrested in October 2006 as he prepared to board a Pakistan flight at Heathrow to fight overseas.

The Old Bailey heard he planned to take military-style equipment on board.

The court heard Qureshi wrote in an email: "Pray that I kill many, brother. Revenge, revenge, revenge."

After the case a senior investigating officer described Qureshi as a "serious terrorist" who hoped to kill many people.

Metal batons

It was revealed during the case that Qureshi, from east London, contacted Heathrow worker Malik to ask about the airport's security procedures.

Malik, a WH Smith employee, was given a suspended jail sentence in November 2007 after being convicted of storing a library of material for terrorism.

Sohail Qureshi posing with a rifle
Sohail Qureshi is a dedicated supporter of Islamist extremism
Jonathan Sharp
Prosecution

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp told the court Qureshi had planned a "two to three-week operation" in either Pakistan, Afghanistan or Pakistan's Waziristan region after he landed in Islamabad.

He was arrested at Heathrow with 9,000 in cash, a night-sight, two metal batons and a computer hard drive, Mr Sharp added.

The court had also been told that Qureshi intended to take two sleeping bags, two rucksacks, medical supplies and CD-Roms on board the flight in October 2006.

Mr Sharp added: "Sohail Qureshi is a dedicated supporter of Islamist extremism."

Qureshi - a dental technician, originally from Pakistan - was arrested on 18 October 2006 as he prepared to board a flight to Islamabad from Heathrow, Mr Sharp said.

Samina Malik (Pic: Met Police)
Samina Malik: First woman convicted under Terrorism Act

He had been preparing with a jihadist group, the prosecution added.

In an e-mail to Malik, Qureshi asked: "What's the system like at work? Is the checking still very harsh or have things calmed down a bit?"

He had been followed airside at Heathrow by counter-terrorism officers who found him carrying the cash - 1,150 in a wallet and 7,590 in six envelopes.

Qureshi admitted preparing for terrorism under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 - making him the first person to be convicted of new laws against planning terrorism.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing articles for terrorist purposes and articles likely to be useful to a terrorist.

Judge Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, told Qureshi these were "grave charges".

He added: "You were ready for terrorist operations overseas but there is no specific indication of what they are or where they might be."

Afterwards the police officer in charge of counter-terrorism in the UK, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke told the BBC: "Qureshi was a serious terrorist.

"He was trained years ago by al Qaeda; he returned to this country; he had cover stories; he used encrypted computers and the like - he knew exactly what he was doing and in his own words his intention was to go on jihad and he hoped to kill many. That's what he said."

DAC Clarke said this was the 23rd such case over the last year.

He added: "This is the first time that the new offence of preparing to commit an act of terrorism has passed through the courts.

"We have seen how effective that can be in filling what was a gap in the law."



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