Al-Qaeda Leeds man jailed

A MAN arrested by police investigating the July 7 bombings was today jailed for 16 months for possessing an al Qaeda training manual.

Khalid Khaliq, 34, admitted owning a CD containing techniques on assassination, espionage, torture and interrogation after it was found at his home in Tempest Road, Beeston, Leeds.

The father-of-three was close friends with two of the July 7 suicide bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer.

He met Khan 36 hours before his attack in London on July 7 2005, and also went white water rafting in North Wales with Khan and Tanweer, four-and-a-half weeks before the bombings.

Leeds Crown Court heard how a CD copy of the al Qaeda training manual was found in a raid at his home in July 2005.

David Farrell, prosecuting, told the court how Khaliq's home was among those searched in the aftermath of the London attacks.

The court heard how the CD had originally been in Iqra learning centre and bookshop on Bude Terrace, of which Khaliq was a trustee, but was moved from there to his home nearby after the attack.

The court also heard how material on the disc had been downloaded from an American website set up by the US Ministry of Justice following a trial in 2002.

Judge James Stewart criticised the decision to put the material on the internet. He said: "It is like putting pornography on a website when a man is accused of possessing or creating it."

Although Khaliq was in possession of the disc he had never actually downloaded the information onto his home computer. Khaliq claimed he didn't know its content.

Tim Maloney, for Khaliq, said he was of previous good character and had made efforts to turn his life around since becoming the sole carer of his three children since his wife had left the family.

Mr Maloney said: "He does not have any views which involved the advocacy of suicide bombing."

Mr Maloney said Khaliq had been a volunteer and later an employee of the Leeds Community School and the Sports Development worker at the Hamara Centre, on Tempest Road before giving up his work to care for his children.

His youngest son, aged five, suffers from severe learning difficulties and the court heard from retired teacher Jean Horton how Khaliq was a 'devoted, caring and loving' father.

But jailing him, Judge James Stewart said: "Let us not forget that a terrorist is a person bent on serious violence of the kind we saw on 7/7 which amounts to destroying the very fabric of the society in which we live. It is no offence in this country to hold extremist views. Our society, unlike many others, allows freedom of expression of religious and political views. But you overstepped the boundary.

"Possessing material capable of training those bent on the destruction of the democracy and society, whose benefit you have so readily accepted."

The judge added: "You were born here and brought up here and succeeded in this society for w hich some would say you seem to hold in contempt."

Fifty-two innocent people died and more than 750 were injured when the bombers – Tanweer; Khan, from Dewsbury; Hasib Hussain, from Holbeck, Leeds; and Jermaine Lindsay, from Huddersfield – attacked three Underground trains and a bus in July 2005.

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