Page last updated at 19:21 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 20:21 UK

Chechnya 'angered' terror accused

Aabid Khan
Mr Khan said computer "hacking" was another of his interests

A Muslim who returned from Pakistan with files on weapons, explosives and poisons has told a court childhood anger fuelled an interest in "jihad".

Aabid Khan, 23, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, cited the killing of Muslims by the Russians in Chechnya as an issue that upset him from as young as 12.

He went on to collect material on pyrotechnics, jihad and war - found on a laptop when he was detained in 2006.

Mr Khan and three others deny charges of possessing terror-related documents.

The 23-year-old was arrested when he returned to Manchester airport from Pakistan.

Also on trial are Sultan Muhammad, 23, from Bradford, Ahmed Sulieman, 30, from Woolwich, south-east London, and Hammaad Munshi, 18, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

They deny 13 counts of possessing articles for a purpose connected with terrorism and making a record of information likely to be useful in terrorism between November 2005 and June 2006.

'Relatives packed suitcase'

On Wednesday Mr Khan told the court that by the age of 12 he was so concerned about the suffering of fellow believers overseas he regularly accessed internet news bulletins about them.

"I felt upset and angry with the onslaught against innocent women and children in countries such as Russia," he told London's Southwark Crown Court.

"The Russian army massacred quite a lot of Muslims in Chechnya. It is still going on today."

As he grew older he downloaded articles on pyrotechnics and "items about war", together with an "analysis of September 11" and "various reports on Islamic jurisprudence".

He joined online forums to swap views about the "tactics and strategies" used by Muslim fighters. Details included the weapons they used and profiles of the individuals involved.

The more I think about my goal in life the more vivid my goals become. Whether it is exploding prisons or freeing [Muslim prisoners]... Let it be a martyrdom operation
Letter to Aabid Khan from his first wife Saima

By the time he was 21 he had hoarded a large amount of material, some of which came from CDs handed to him outside mosques and after conferences, the court heard.

It was all recovered from a laptop hard drive found in his luggage after he was detained.

More material - much of it deleted - was allegedly retrieved from an external memory device, which had been sent to him by a friend in Britain to help him set up a second-hand phone retail business in Pakistan.

Mr Khan told the court that because he received the drive just hours before he left for Britain, he did not have a chance to see what it contained.

It was only in his luggage because "lady family members" did his packing, he said.

From left: Sultan Muhammad, Ahmed Sulieman, Hammaad Munshi
Mr Khan's three co-defendants also deny the charges against them

Prosecutors have said the contents of his luggage "showed he was dedicated to the pursuit of a violent holy war against anyone, any person or any country which did not believe in his religious faith".

During a second day of giving evidence, Mr Khan - who has married twice - was asked about the contents of a large Filofax found in his suitcase.

They included a "personal letter" sent to him by his first wife Saima from Canada, where she campaigned for the release of Muslim prisoners "in such places as Guantanamo Bay".

It said: "The more I think about my goal in life the more vivid my goals become. Whether it is exploding prisons or freeing them somehow I know I have to play a role in it. Let it be a martyrdom operation."

When defence QC Abbas Lakha asked his client to explain, Mr Khan said: "She feels strongly about the issue with Muslim prisoners... She was upset."

He went on to say she was not serious about becoming a martyr but had said it out of "desperation".

'Mount the attack'

Mr Khan was also asked about fashion designs found in the personal organiser, which included hoods, Velcro straps, string draws and numerous pockets on the chest, legs and arms.

"This was ghetto clothing but with an Islamic theme to it," said Mr Khan.

A further entry in his diary read: "One cell - stake out target; one cell - acquired equipment; one cell - mount the attack."

Mr Khan told the court the "military or guerrilla language" he had used was a reference to online attacks designed to "crash" anti-Islamic websites.

He added that computer "hacking" was "another of my interests".

Jurors had previously heard he visited Balakot in Pakistan which hosted a training camp for terrorist group Jaishe-Mohammed.

He said he went to Pakistan in 2006 to sell phones and help earthquake survivors.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.


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