Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 13:47 UK

Crown denies 7/7 trial witch-hunt

Waheed Ali
Waheed Ali: Showed 'devotion and loyalty to bombers' says Crown

The prosecutor in the trial of three men accused of helping the 7 July London suicide bombers has denied the case was a witch-hunt.

Neil Flewitt QC denied in his closing speech that the Crown had been seeking a conviction "at all costs".

Defence teams have told the jury the three-month trial is built on a weak case and pressure from the authorities.

Three Leeds men who were close friends of the bombers deny scouting for potential bomb targets in London.

Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil say their December 2004 trip to London, alongside two of the bombers, was innocent.

We invite you to consider the nature and the extent of the friendships between these men and the bombers - their shared interests in radical Jihadist material
Neil Flewitt QC

All three admit holding extreme Islamist views - including supporting militant groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But they say their views fall well short of advocating suicide bombings in the UK.

Beginning his closing speech, Mr Flewitt denied defence claims that the trial was brought because of pressure to find someone guilty for the deaths of 52 people on 7 July 2005.

"It's not a witch-hunt," he told Kingston Crown Court. "We are not here to get a conviction at all costs - that is not how we work.

"The prosecution case is based on a powerful accumulation of circumstantial evidence that, like pieces in a jigsaw, fit together to produce a compelling picture of guilt."

Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil also deny the charge
Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil also deny the charge

Mr Flewitt said the history of friendship between one of the defendants and the bombers pointed to evidence of the kind of "devotion and loyalty" required to help carry out the attacks.

"We invite you to consider the nature and the extent of the friendships between these men and the bombers," said Mr Flewitt.

"Their shared interests in radical Jihadist material, a common interest in attacking the economy of the UK through fraud and trips together to take part in terrorist training camps in Pakistan."

The three men are alleged to have travelled to London in December 2004 to find potential targets. Two of the bombers were on the trip. Ringleader Mohammad Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer were training in Pakistan - and were due to be joined by two of the defendants.

Claims that the bombers had shunned the defendants in the months leading up to the attacks were a front, said Mr Flewitt.

"Those who had volunteered to carry out the attacks distanced themselves from the others as they entered the operational phase of their plan," he said.


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