Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 15:08 UK

Jury dismissed in 7/7 plot trial

Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil
Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil denied the charge

The jury in the trial of three men accused of helping the 7 July London bombers has failed to reach a verdict.

The Kingston Crown Court jury had spent three weeks considering a charge of conspiracy to cause an explosion.

Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, all from Leeds, admit having known the 7/7 bombers but denied having helped them find targets.

The prosecution is expected to seek a retrial and the men were remanded in custody until a hearing in September.

On Friday, the jurors told Mr Justice Gross they had not reached a verdict on any of the three defendants and he said the time had come to discharge them.

'Smiled broadly'

The BBC's Liz Shaw, who was in court, said Mr Ali smiled broadly from the dock as the position became clear.

An image of the fake travel card used by Germaine Lindsay
One of the bomber's travelcards, found after the attacks

However, the trio were remanded in custody and will return to court for a hearing in late September.

Prosecutor Paul Taylor said the Crown Prosecution Service would take "a little time" to consider if it would seek a retrial of the men.

Mr Justice Gross said: "I will work from the assumption that there might be a retrial and I will assume that it is likely to be in the new year."

Four suicide bombings on Tube trains and a bus killed 52 people and injured nearly 800 on 7 July 2005.

The trial had focused on a trip to London by the three men, which also included two of the eventual suicide bombers.

Prosecutors said the men had effectively carried out a dry run for the July 2005 attacks by assessing the capital's security during their visit in December 2004.

They alleged the visit had been organised by 7/7 plot ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan, who had contacted the men from Pakistan.

'Shared objectives'

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, had told the court that the three were not directly responsible for the explosions that killed 52 and maimed hundreds more.

7/7 Investigation in numbers
90,000 phone calls examined
4,700 phone numbers probed
13,000 exhibits
7,000 forensically examined
18,450 statements taken
19,400 documents created

But he said evidence showed they shared the same objectives as the bombers and knew that some kind of attack was being planned.

The men vehemently denied this, saying that their trip to London had been to allow one of them to see family and to take in a little tourism.

In tense courtroom scenes, each of the men in turn denounced the prosecution as politically motivated and stressed the bombers' actions had been completely un-Islamic.

The three-month trial heard that the three men had grown up in Beeston, the same tight-knit community of Leeds as three of the bombers.

The men said they shared many of their concerns about the plight of Muslims around the world.

Each of the men had spent time in training camps in Pakistan because they wanted to support Muslim fighters seeking to liberate Islamic lands.

But the jury could not decide whether or not their beliefs stretched to supporting suicide bombings or attacks of any kind against civilians or other targets in the UK.

London visit

The trial heard that in December 2004, Mr Ali, Mr Saleem and Mr Shakil had travelled to London.

Prosecutors said their movements bore a "striking similarity" to those of the 7 July bombers, who attacked three Underground stations and a bus near Kings Cross.

The men on the 2004 trip also visited the London Eye, the Natural History Museum and London Aquarium.

But the men denied having entered the London Underground, saying they had driven around the city, and said the entire case rested on partial records of where their mobile phones had connected to the network.

They accused the police and media of creating a climate of fear in the Beeston area of Leeds and said the police had been trying to make them guilty by association.

The men were arrested in 2007 amid the largest ever criminal investigation in the UK, which continues today.

Tens of thousands of police hours have been spent on the three-year-old investigation - and detectives say there are still people in the Leeds area who know more.

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The trial led to the disclosure of previously unseen footage of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the 7/7 ringleader, saying goodbye to his daughter. Families and survivors of the bombings watched the videos - this is what they thought.




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