Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 18:00 UK

UK suspect 'key al-Qaeda member'

Raingzieb Ahmed and Habib Ahmed
The defendants deny the charges against them

A British Muslim man was an important member of al-Qaeda with a terrorist contacts book that had sections written in invisible ink, a court has heard.

Rangzieb Ahmed, 33, of Manchester, denies directing terrorism and being a member of al-Qaeda.

The prosecution at Manchester Crown Court alleged he was assisted by Habib Ahmed, 28, a city taxi driver.

It is alleged Habib Ahmed, who denies all charges, travelled to Pakistan to receive terrorist training.

The trip is also said to have included explosives training.

And the prosecution claims that Habib Ahmed's wife, Mehreen Haji, 27, sent 4,000 to fund his training.

She is accused of two counts of arranging funding for the purposes of terrorism.

All three deny the charges against them. The trial is expected to last for three months.

Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, said a "contact book for terrorists" was discovered in Habib Ahmed's baggage at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam about the time of Christmas 2005.

'Al-Qaeda business'

Mr Edis said: "The prosecution say that the book contains information of considerable importance to a terrorist because it has information that enables them to contact each other secretly and has some important phone numbers for terrorists - a contact book for terrorists."

Rangzieb Ahmed and Habib Ahmed had just finished a meeting in Dubai on what was described as "important al-Qaeda business" when the book was discovered.

They flew back to the UK separately and it was en route at Schipol that the latter's baggage was checked without his knowledge.

The court was also told Rangzieb Ahmed was born in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, but had spent most of his life outside his native country after becoming estranged from his family.

However, he occasionally returned to the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester during 2005 and 2006 when he was involved in directing terrorism, the court heard.

Books recovered

Mr Edis said that in April 2006 Habib Ahmed went to a terror training camp in Pakistan.

He was then arrested in the Cheetham Hill area in August of that year, where the "contact book" and two other related diaries he had brought from Dubai were discovered.

Earlier the court heard how Mr Ahmed and Ms Haji were married by the radical cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, whose organisation al-Muhajiroun was "designed to propagate radical views of Islam in this country".

The court heard how a document was found at the couple's home that justified suicide bombings.

The trial continues.


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