Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 16:22 UK
Trio cleared over 7/7 attacks



Three men have been acquitted of helping to scout for targets for the 7 July London suicide bombers.

Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil, admitted they knew the men but denied knowing anything about the plot.

Ali and Shakil were convicted of a separate charge of planning to attend a terrorism training camp at the time of their arrest in 2007.

SADEER SALEEM, CLEARED OF HELPING THE 7/7 BOMBERS

"I have lost over two years of my life, which I will never get back. Even though I have been acquitted, some people will always connect me with these events. I want people to know I am totally innocent, and I want there to be an inquiry into why I was prosecuted on the flimsiest of evidence.

"Nobody should be put through what I have gone through and an inquiry should take place so the police do not prosecute with evidence of guilt by association only.

"In my view, this was a prosecution that should never have happened and I need to know now why it did."

Sadeer Saleem's solicitor Imran Khan reads out a statement after the acquittal

"Had I been convicted of the allegations against me I have no doubt that I would have left prison a very old man. Thankfully a jury of ordinary people have unanimously been able to see this case for what it was - guilt by association.

"I am indebted to these 12 courageous individuals who have now cleared my name and allowed me the opportunity of seeing my children grow up.

"I fully understand that whilst I am allowed to continue with my life, 52 people have lost theirs. I have every sympathy with their families and demand for a public inquiry into the events leading up to 7/7.

"However I must make it absolutely clear that I had nothing whatsoever to do with the dreadful attacks on July 7 2005, which I have always condemned.

"Despite my condemnation, the police chose to prosecute me in the strongest terms. In my view the police wanted somebody, anybody, to pay for the murder of 52 people.

"Had I been convicted this would have led to injustice upon injustice. Luckily I have been acquitted. Many others in a similar position to me have not been so lucky."

OURY CLARK, SOLICITORS FOR SOME OF THE 7 JULY VICTIMS

"Families [of victims] and survivors are clear that the verdict strengthens the case for an independent inquiry into the attacks that killed 52 people and injured over 700 others.

"The campaigners have agreed to wait a short while for the publication of a further report from the intelligence and security committee - but if that report fails to answer key questions, they will push ahead with a judicial review into the government's decision not to hold an independent inquiry into the largest peacetime attack on mainland Britain."

DEPT ASST COMMISIONER JOHN MCDOWALL, METROPOLITAN POLICE

On the conviction of Waheed Ali and Mohammed Shakil:

"These two men learned to fight at training camps attended by other terrorists. Mohammad Sidique Khan and Mohammed Shakil told other attendees that their aim was to fight in Afghanistan.

"They were proficient in the use of and handling of terrorist weapons, and were certainly not enjoying a day out in a beautiful and mountainous area of Pakistan, as was suggested in court.

"Shakil himself accepted that the camp at Malakand was a serious business, whose purpose was to train willing volunteers to fight and kill in Afghanistan on behalf of the Taleban, a cause to which both he and Ali were, and remain, sympathetic."

HOME SECRETARY JACQUI SMITH

"The 7 July attacks were malicious, indiscriminate and horrific, resulting in the tragic deaths of 52 innocent people. The effects of the attack had a global reach with people from a variety of countries, cultures, traditions and religions affected by the atrocity and my thoughts are with all those who lost loved ones.

"Protecting the public is the government's primary responsibility. We have a duty to act on credible information to keep the public safe.

"It is the duty of the police to investigate alleged acts of criminal activity and present the CPS with evidence they have gathered.

"The CPS will consider whether the evidence is sufficient to present to the courts. It is then for the court and jury to consider this evidence, as has been done in this case".

"I welcome the guilty verdicts against two of these individuals. It clearly demonstrates the determined stance the UK takes against those suspected of involvement in terrorism."

SUE HEMMING, CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE'S COUNTER-TERRORISM DIVISION

"Although there was no direct evidence that these men were involved in the terrible events of 7/7, we felt there was sufficient evidence to show they were involved in reconnaissance and planning for an attack of some kind and it was in the public interest that such a serious matter should be put before a court.

"For the same reason, the decision to go for a retrial following the hung jury in the first trial was correct.

"The jury, having heard all of the evidence, has decided that these men are not guilty of the charge of conspiracy to cause an explosion.

"We fully respect that decision, and thank the jury for their time and patience in coming to their conclusion.

"In finding two of the defendants guilty of conspiracy to attend terrorism training, however, they have decided that Waheed Ali and Mohammed Shakil entered into an agreement to attend a terrorist training camp."



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