Manchester terrorism trial - court hears evidence of Jewish community 'targets'

22 Jun 2012 by CST

On day two of the trial of Shasta Khan for terrorism offences relating to an alleged plot to carry out a bombing campaign against the Manchester Jewish community - charges to which her husband, Mohammed Sajid Khan, has already pleaded guilty - the court heard evidence that the couple had gathered information relating to the Manchester Jewish community:

Mrs Khan told police that she had driven her husband to a Prestwich synagogue, and twice they had sat in its car park watching Jewish people enter, while her husband said a Koranic-inspired verse calling Jews “dirty” and said “we must kill them all”.

The couple had repeatedly driven past synagogues on Shabbat on Northumberland Street, in the heart of Salford's strictly Orthodox community.

The Jewish Agency in Prestwich was a favourite destination on the couple's Tom Tom navigation device, with its website bookmarked on their home computer, alongside that of the UJIA.

The court also heard evidence of the couple's alleged attempts to make an improvised explosive device, and some of the radical propaganda material allegedly found in their possession:

Yesterday prosecution lawyers said that the couple could have been days from producing explosives and were following al-Qaeda instructions to make a home-made pipe bomb.

Exact items matching the stage-by-stage bomb guide were found in a Maplin bag in their living room, including adapted Christmas tree lights to make a detonator and an alarm clock, alongside items bought at Tesco, Sainsbury's and B&Q to extract the explosive potassium chlorate from household chemicals. The jury was shown receipts for the items, and told that CCTV footage showed both husband and wife purchasing them.

A pot used for boiling Mrs Khan's hairdressing peroxide was found in their home's backyard, where a fridge and cooker had been set up in an outhouse. Shasta Khan had allegedly searched for bomb-making equipment at home on her Ebay account, at a time, the prosecution said, when her husband was away in Yorkshire.

Prosecuting, Bobbie Cheema said the bomb instructions, entitled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” stated they could produce enough explosive “in one to two days, to kill 10 people; in weeks or a month you can make a big enough bomb to kill tens of people.

“Most chillingly, members of the jury, you will hear that an an individual with minimum scientific training, limited preparations and resources could make potassium chlorate from household bleach using basic equipment,” Miss Cheema added.

[...]

Turning to forensic evidence of the couple's two computers, Miss Cheema said that their small terraced house contained a “huge amount” of proscribed terrorist material.

Mrs Khan had watched Jihadi videos of gruesome beheadings and cars exploding, on a “nightly” basis with her husband, Sajid Khan, as she massaged his feet.

These were some of 71 execution videos downloaded in full or partially to the defendant's laptop, which had its desktop set to a picture of Islamic Jihad's flag – the same flag seen in some of the videos. They would listen together to radical antisemitic Islamic sermons, it was alleged, which told listeners to “rise up to aid Palestine” which was given to “Jewish liars trying to steal wealth”.

CDs of radical speeches were found in the CD player of Shasta Khan's blue Peugeot car. The court was shown on video screens pictures of Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders which were found in their computer's picture-folder, alongside family snaps.

The trial continues.


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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

Michael Georg Link
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights