A LEEDS hotel owner has been convicted of an offence under the Terrorism Act for making notes about Mujahideen training.
Adeel Amjad, 35, was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court today of possessing a record containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
The handwritten notes titled Commander of Mujahideen were in a notebook discovered in a wardrobe in his bedroom during a police search of his home in Headfield Road, Savile Town on November 5 2013.
Amjad who has run a a hotel in Roundhay Road, Leeds for five years and a jewellers shop in Dewsbury for 17 years, had denied the offence claiming he made the notes, which included physical exercises because he was trying to lose weight.
The eight man four woman jury took under four hours to reach the unanimous verdict and Amjad was bailed with a condition of residence until December for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service.
The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC told him: “The fact I am giving you bail and asking for a report is no indication the sentence will not be custodial, that will be the starting point in my mind on December 11 but the final sentence will depend on everything I am told on that day.”
He thanked the jury for their care and consideration in the case saying there were no sentencing guidelines for Terrorism charges. “Offences of this nature are at the lower end of these type of offences, not all people are sent to prison for this type of offence and I will need to consider that in due course.”
Brett Weaver prosecuting told the jury on November 5, 2013 police visited Amjad’s home “for an entirely unrelated and irrelevant matter.”
But during a search of the property the notebook containing the handwritten notes was found in a wardrobe in his bedroom along with other documents inside clear plastic envelopes.
The notebook page headed Commander of Mujahideen listed in the top half of the page, the qualities of such a commander including being “ruthless like a bear and attacking like a wolf”.
On the lower half of the page it gave the exercise regime such as carrying 20 kilogrammes for four hours and run three kilometres in no more than thirteen and a half minutes.
He said it was the Crown’s case that Amjad had the notes not as part of any keep fit regime but because they would be useful for somebody preparing for combat “arising from Jihad.”
He said other notes and documents referred to Jihad suggested Amjad had made the notes as a training plan to “provide particular help or assistance to a person seeking to commit an act of terrorism.”
He said investigation by the police showed an almost identical list had been written by a Saudi national who was a leader of Al Qaida until his death in 2003.
Other documents recovered by police from the wardrobe included one titled “The enemy’s true face, America is your enemy so treat her as such.”
Mr Weaver said that and other documents on the defence of Islam “demonstrated a mindset” towards the west and America.
Amjad told the jury in evidence he was often handed documents in the area he lived and had kept some for research purposes but did not always read them.
He said he attended the mosque daily and was religious. He was given a copy of the Mujahideen list by a man at the gym at Dewsbury Sports Centre several years ago. He said he knew him only as Shiraz and had no idea where it originated from.
He claimed he copied the exercise regime because he was trying to lose weight. “I tried a few of them, I don’t think I did any of them completely.”
Asked by Paul Crampin defending him if he persevered with the exercises Amjad replied: “No, I tried it a few times but it was too hard for me to carry on.” He said the notebook he used was just put away in a wardrobe.
Asked why he copied the qualities of a Mujahideen commander as well as the exercises Amjad said he thought it was mental qualities needed to do the training.
“It was just something put in the drawer and forgotten about,” he said.
Mr Weaver suggested in cross-examination that Mujahideen fighters needed to be fit to carry out Jihad.
“I suppose so,” replied Amjad. “But it was not part of my plan, it was not something I would look into at all, I never had any intention of doing anything terrorist related.”