Suspect had al-Qa'ida contact book, court told

Man accused of training at terrorist camp in Pakistan
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The Independent Online

A British man who is accused of attempting to orchestrate acts of terrorism had contacts books containing key phone numbers and email addresses for members of al-Qa'ida, many written in invisible ink, a court was told yesterday.

Details of the secret books wererevealed as Rangzieb Ahmed, 33,appeared before Manchester Crown Court accused of being an "important member" of the terrorist organisation.

Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, told the jury Mr Ahmed had three books featuring information of "considerable importance" after going to terrorist training camps in Pakistan.

"They contain information in invisible ink. Who would write phone numbers on a book in invisible ink? The prosecution say that these bookscontain information of considerable importance to a terrorist because it is information that enables terrorists to communicate by email secretly," said the barrister, adding: "Something else of some importance is the phone numbers for terrorists. This is a contact book for a terrorist."

While conceding that he is a member of Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a proscribed terror group, Mr Ahmed hasdenied being an associate ofal-Qa'ida along with his co-defendants, husband and wife Habib Ahmed, 38, and Mehreen Haji, 27. He also denies directing terrorism between April 2004 and August 2006. Born in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, Mr Ahmed moved to Pakistan as a child but revisited the UK in 2005 and 2006, the court heard.

"The prosecution say that during that time Rangzieb Ahmed – who was a member of al-Qa'ida and an important member of al-Qa'ida – was in aposition to direct some of its activities, was engaged in an operation which included him travelling to Dubai and intending to travel onwards to South Africa, but being diverted because something went wrong to the UK," said Mr Edis.

Habib Ahmed, a taxi driver and another alleged member of al-Qa'ida, followed him to Dubai and the pair were recorded during covert surveillance talking in a hotel room during December 2005 before returning to the United Kingdom separately towards the end of the month.

Habib Ahmed returned with thecollection of three contacts books, which were spotted in his baggage during a search by Dutch investigators at Schiphol airport. They were later recovered during a search of his home in the UK in August 2006.

Mr Edis added: "Rangzieb Ahmed stayed in the UK most of that time until 17 January 2006 when he flew to Pakistan. In that time he was training al-Qa'ida contacts and he was being assisted by Habib Ahmed." Three months later Habib Ahmed went to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan, said the QC, adding: "While he was there, his wife sent two sums of money to him, around £2,000 on each occasion. It is an offence to fund terrorism and if she knew, as we say she did, that the money she was sending was going to be used by her husband for the purpose of funding his training, then she would be guilty of an offence."

Habib Ahmed, who is unrelated to Rangzieb, denies a charge that heattended a place for terrorist training between April and June 2006. He claims he was taking an interest in terrorist activities purely for journalistic reasons. His wife admits sending money but denies knowing or suspecting what the funds were allegedly being used for. Several books by the radical jihadi ideologue Sheikh Abdulla Azam were also found at the couple's property with such titles as Islamic Military Resurgence, Defence of the Muslim Lands, and Join the Caravan.

A computer recovered from the address by police allegedly contained evidence of a Google search for "suicide bombs in Islam".

The trial continues.