Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 17:18 UK

7/7: Three-month trial stalemate

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News

Waheed Ali and bomber Hasib Hussain, November 2004
Waheed Ali (left) and bomber Hasib Hussain in November 2004

The end of the first and so far only trial in relation to the 7 July 2005 attacks has come after three years of detective work, thousands of lines of inquiry and massive efforts to get to the bottom of what happened.

But the jury which sat through weeks of dramatic evidence failed to reach a verdict on any of the three men accused of helping the bombers.

Prosecutors said their case against Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil was elegantly simple. Neil Flewitt QC told the court that there was a compelling jigsaw of circumstantial evidence. Sixty-six hours of deliberations later, the jury were unable to decide what that jigsaw amounted to.

At the heart of this prosecution was the allegation that the three Leeds men went to London on 16 December, staying overnight, to scout for bomb targets.

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

In the aftermath of the bombings, the court heard how police officers had painstakingly reconstructed the lives of the dead attackers.

Evidence in the trial included details of the remains of Mohammad Sidique Khan's phone, found amid the wreckage of his Edgware Road blast that killed six people. His phone included a number tagged "SHAXMOB", attributable to Mohammed Shakil, and another entry, "SADS", referring to Sadeer Saleem.

Forensic evidence from the bomb factory, presented in court, linked the trio to items found inside the Leeds flat.

The jury heard how detectives noticed the three defendants had been together in London in December 2004, alongside bomber Hasib Hussain. Another of the 7/7 attackers, Germaine Lindsay, joined the men in the evening.

Prosecutors told the trial their movements bore a "striking similarity" to the sites eventually attacked.

But the defendants each in turn took to the witness box to rubbish this allegation, saying their trip had been entirely innocent.

Training camps

The men all freely admitted having visited London - but said it was to allow Waheed Ali to say goodbye to his sister.

A handwritten note by Hasib Hussain, detailing how to deal with various scenarios during the bombing
Planning: Defendants say bombers kept apart after hatching their plan
He and Sadeer Saleem were heading to a mujahideen training camp in Pakistan. They expected to see Mohammad Sidique Khan and fellow bomber Shehzad Tanweer, who had already left.

But when they got there, the bombers were in a different camp, they told the court, and later refused to say what they had been doing.

Each of the defendants said they had visited Kashmiri militant camps - but said their trips were nothing to do with al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism.

The men went on these training camps because they said they believed that Muslim men should defend Islamic lands from invading armies.

And in more than a week of combative evidence from the witness box, Waheed Ali denounced suicide bombings - but freely admitted being willing to fight in South Asia.

"If it got down to fighting, I would have gone wherever my emir [commander] sent me," Ali told the court.

"If I agreed with [the bombers], I would have been there on 7/7 with the brothers, with a rucksack on my back. If I agreed I would have killed hundreds.

"They didn't stop them, they wouldn't have stopped me. Not your MI5, not your MI6, not nobody."

The men have now been remanded in custody pending a hearing on 26 or 27 September. The BBC understands a retrial is likely in the New Year, but no final decision has been announced.

A map of the key movements of mobile phones around London relating to the 7/7 investigation


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