'Truth has won' as terror plotter's wife cleared

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The family of the wife of a convicted bomb plotter said today "the truth has won" after she was cleared of failing to pass on information about a possible terrorist act.

Cossor Ali, 28, was found not guilty by a jury after a day of deliberation following a three-week trial at Inner London Crown Court.

Her husband, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was convicted last September over the foiled plot to blow up transatlantic airliners.

As she was acquitted, Mrs Ali cried "thank you, thank you, thank you" then fled the courtroom.

Outside, her father Mohammed Anwar told reporters: "The truth has won and justice prevails. We are grateful to the jury for returning a unanimous verdict.

"We have suffered as a family over the last three and half years for the actions of some individuals with whom we have nothing in common."

Mrs Ali always denied the charge of having information which might be of material assistance in preventing the commission by another person of an act of terrorism and not disclosing that information as soon as reasonably possible.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Mrs Ali knew her husband planned mass murder by targeting passenger jets but failed to tell police.

But the jury believed Mrs Ali's defence that she did not know anything about it.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC argued that she began to sympathise with her husband's extremist beliefs.

In an entry she made in a notebook in 2005 when she was waiting for her husband to return from Pakistan, she wrote: "I am growing more and more attached to the cause for which you are striving for, and the reason for which we are apart.

"I hope and pray Allah grants your wish and gives you the highest level of shahada."

The prosecution also said she knew her husband planned to carry out a terror attack since he wrote his will in March 2004.

The will stated: "We know with full certainty that we are going to die so let us aim high and strive for the best death, i.e. shahada, and let us do the most pleasing deed to Allah and make the greatest sacrifice, fight with our life, tongue and wealth in the path of Allah."

Police found notes Abdulla Ahmed Ali made while listening to lectures on jihad, which had his wife's fingerprints on them, the court heard.

Islamic extremist books were also found in their one-bedroom flat in Walthamstow, east London.

And Abdulla Ahmed Ali made a suicide video for release after the transatlantic bomb plot, in which he threatened more attacks.

But when she was arrested in August 2006, Mrs Ali burst into tears and denied all knowledge of the plot in a police interview.

She said she thought her husband had bought a powdered drink, Tang, from Pakistan because he was developing his own product.

In fact it was to be used to colour liquid explosives so they looked like soft drinks.

Mrs Ali, who had a moderate upbringing in Walthamstow, told the court she felt her identity was being "erased" at the hands of an abusive husband and his strict Muslim family after their marriage in 2003.

She told jurors that he once hit her so hard that imprints of his fingers were left on her face.

She also said Ali forced her to wear a veil, even giving her a "love bite" on the cheek so she "wouldn't forget" to cover her face.

Mrs Ali told the court how her husband's views on Islam were different to hers, and she was made to feel like she wasn't a good Muslim.

She said she was "horrified" when she was shown the suicide tape her husband made as part of the bomb plot.

She viewed the video after being arrested in August 2006.

"I was shocked and disgusted that I was living with a man that could feel that much hate and be like that," she told the court, adding: "I was horrified, it made me hate him."

Giving evidence about her notebook entry, Ali said she took "shahada" to mean the "highest level of faith" instead of "martyrdom".

Asked outright if she knew what her husband was planning, she replied: "I didn't, no."

She told the court that, if she had been aware of what was going on, she would have "gone to my parents who would have had no hesitation about going to the police".

Commenting on the verdict, Colin Gibbs, of the counter-terrorism division of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "We believed we had sufficient evidence to put a case before a jury that Cossor Ali knew of her husband's mission to become a martyr for his terrorist beliefs.

"It was our case that from notes she wrote to him she knew of his intention to commit an act of terrorism and that this would have involved his own death and others.

"The jury heard both the prosecution and the defence case and decided that they could not be sure whether Mrs Ali had any knowledge of her husband's intentions and therefore whether she would have been able to alert the authorities.

"We would like to thank the jury for performing their duty in this case and we respect their verdict."