Dawn : Pakistani students accuse UK of ill-treatment

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pakistani students accuse UK of ill-treatment

By Baqir Sajjad Syed | August 23, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Two Pakistani students arrested in Britain in connection with an alleged terror plot returned home on Saturday after dropping a legal battle against their deportation and accusing British authorities of ill-treatment during detention.

Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan were among the 12 Pakistani students arrested in April during the Operation Pathway.

The British authorities later failed to bring up charges against them, but decided to deport them for being ‘security risk’.

The two students, along with others detained during the terror raids, had appealed against the deportation decision and the Special Immigration Appeals Commission was scheduled to take up their appeal in March next year.

However, Wahab and Shoaib subsequently decided to leave UK voluntarily after a court rejected their plea for bail, while their appeal against deportation was being heard.

Mr Amjad Malik, the lawyer for both students, told reporters on arrival in Islamabad that his clients were frequently strip-searched, subjected to searches by dogs and served contaminated food.

One of the students, Wahab, described his detention as ‘hell’ and said it showed that the British had no concept of justice. The allegations were rejected by the British High Commission as ‘unfounded’.

‘Whilst in detention, these individuals were afforded the full protection of the UK justice system,’ the statement said, adding the UK Government treats all those in detention in UK prisons fairly and humanely, regardless of their nationality, race or religion.

It said except for one complaint by their lawyer on Aug 14 about contaminated food, there were no complaints by any of the detainees.

Speaking particularly about the two students, the British High Commission said: ‘In the case of these individuals one took up the opportunity to take part in an education course; and both used the prison gymnasium, exercised frequently and were free to worship and undertake other activities in accordance with Islamic teachings.’

BBC : Terror raid duo back in Pakistan

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Terror raid duo back in Pakistan

August 22, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested over an alleged terror plot have returned to Pakistan after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily, the Home Office has said.

Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people held by police after raids in north-west England in April, but the pair were never charged.

The Home Office tried to deport them, saying they remained a security threat.

It is understood the men decided to leave after being denied bail while appealing against deportation.

The appeal was due to be heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) in March next year.

Both students, who had been Category A prisoners at HMP Manchester, arrived in Islamabad on Saturday.

Abdul Khan said his detention had been "like a hell" and his treatment showed the British authorities "do not know what justice means".

The men's solicitor, Amjad Malik, said his clients should have been freed instead of being held for months.

He said the students would continue to fight their case in Britain and had taken up the issue with Pakistan's interior ministry.

Mr Malik claimed both men had been frequently strip-searched, subjected to "searches by dogs" and served tainted food.

The British High Commission in Pakistan has rejected the allegations as "unfounded".

It said that apart from one incident of allegedly contaminated baked beans, no other complaints had been made during their detention.

"The UK government treats all those in detention in UK prisons fairly and humanely, regardless of their nationality, race or religion," a statement said.

'Visa irregularities'

Twelve students were arrested in the terror raids in Manchester and Liverpool as part of Operation Pathway, with three subsequently released.

The anti-terror operation had to be brought forward after Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, Bob Quick, was photographed with a secret document. He subsequently resigned.

The Home Office is attempting to deport two others, Sultan Sher and Janus Khan, on the grounds of visa irregularities after dropping claims that they posed a threat to national security.

Five more, referred to only as VE, UF, ZA, YB and XC, are to appear before Siac for their deportation appeal hearing on March 10.

Evidence passed to the tribunal claimed one of the men, who cannot be identified, exchanged e-mails with an associate of al-Qaeda.

MI5 analysis also suggested girls' names were used as code for bomb ingredients and that the mention of a wedding hinted at a planned attack.

Lawyers for the men said the emails were innocent and the security services' interpretation of the emails was "far-fetched".

Times : Pakistani students held in anti-terror raids abandon deportation fight

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pakistani students held in anti-terror raids abandon deportation fight

Andrew Norfolk | August 22, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested during counter-terrorism raids in Manchester and Liverpool were due to fly home last night after giving up their fight against deportation.

Abdul Wahab Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people — ten of them Pakistanis on student visas — detained in April when the security services claimed to have foiled an al-Qaeda bomb plot.

None of the 12 was charged with a criminal offence. One, a British citizen, was released without charge and a young Afghan man is awaiting deportation for being in Britain illegally.

After their release from police custody, the ten Pakistanis were held in category A prisons pending appeals against the Home Office’s decision to deport them on the grounds of national security.

Last month Janas Khan and Sultan Sher, in their mid-20s, were released after it was accepted that there was no evidence that they were involved in terrorism. They are facing deportation because of visa irregularities.

One of the remaining eight, Tariq ur Rehman, 38, returned voluntarily to Pakistan in June after withdrawing his appeal against deportation. Another man took the same step this week.

They will be joined in Pakistan by the two Khans, who were due to fly to Islamabad yesterday evening, leaving four men in prison pending a hearing before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission next March. They include the so-called ringleader of the group, who allegedly exchanged e-mails with an al-Qaeda associate intercepted by M15. They were said to include coded references to a planned terrorist strike in Britain between April 15 and 20 this year.

The e-mails referred to a forthcoming nikah, an Islamic wedding, which was taken to mean the proposed bomb attack, and mentioned girls’ names thought to represent explosive ingredients. Solicitors for the men say that the e-mails were innocent exchanges about social matters.

The detention without charge of the Pakistanis has created tensions between Britain and Pakistan. When the remaining men’s appeals are heard next March they will have been held in custody or prison for 11 months.

A campaign group, Justice for the North West 10, has fought for their release on bail. Their families in Pakistan say that the men were genuine students. In May The Times revealed that eight of the arrested men were enrolled at a bogus college set up in 2006 as a front for a mass immigration fraud.

The Manchester College of Professional Studies, a converted pub south of the city centre, claimed to have 50 students but had secretly enrolled 1,797. It had two classrooms and three teachers.

Abdul Wahab Khan, from the North West Frontier province, and Shoaib Khan, from Punjab, were on its books. Their solicitor, Amjad Malik, said yesterday that they had decided to return to Pakistan after the failure of their bail applications last week.

Mr Malik said that they had been treated at Manchester prison like murderers or rapists.

He demanded an inquiry into their allegations that they had gone on hunger strike after being given meals containing human faeces.

“They have been in detention for 134 days. They are in category A conditions and are strip-searched,” he said.

“They realised that they were going to remain in custody when they haven’t committed any crime.”

“Also, Ramadan is coming nearer and they are not happy with the facilities in place in prison, so they wish to spend their Eid [the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha] with their families in Pakistan.”

Europe News : Terror raid students to leave UK

Friday, August 21, 2009

Terror raid students to leave UK

BBC News | August 21, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested over an alleged terror plot are to fly home after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily, their solicitor has said.

Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people held by police after raids in north-west England in April, but the pair were never charged.

The Home Office tried to deport them, saying they remained a security threat.

The men decided to leave after being denied bail while appealing against deportation, their solicitor said.

The appeal was due to be heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) in March next year.

The men's solicitor, Amjad Malik, said his clients would leave on an evening flight to Islamabad on Friday night (...)

Fleetwood Today : Pakistanis held in terror raids to fly home

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pakistanis held in terror raids to fly home

August 21, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested in a major anti-terror operation in the north west are to fly home after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily.

Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people arrested by police in April as part of Operation Pathway.

They were never charged but remained in custody as the Home Office attempted to deport them on the grounds they were a threat to national security.

Their appeal against deportation was due to be heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in March.

But after they were denied bail last month, the men decided to drop the appeal and return to Pakistan.

Their solicitor, Amjad Malik, said the men would leave on a Friday evening flight to Islamabad.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2009, All Rights Reserved.

APP : Two detained Pakistani students returning home Saturday

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two detained Pakistani students returning home Saturday

August 21, 2009

LONDON, Aug 21 (APP)- Two detained Pakistani students would return home Saturday of their own volition after the British authorities agreed to drop deportation charges against them.Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan will leave Manchester by a regular PIA flight (PK 702), which lands in Lahore early Saturday morning, their lawyer Amjad Malik said Friday.

Malik will accompany the pair, who were among ten Pakistani students arrested in a terror raid in April across north west England. As no evidence was found, the charges were dropped but they were handed over to UK Border Agency for deportation.

Last month Special Immigration Appeals Commission turned down their bail applications with the final hearing set for March 10 next year.

Disappointed Wahab and Shoaib then decided to return home voluntarily as they found remaining incarcerated for ten months under unpleasant circumstances difficult.

According to Malik, the two students expressed their unhappiness with the facilities in place in prison and with the approach of Ramazanul Mubarik, they expressed their wish to be with their families and spend Eid with them.

Earlier, another student Tariq-ur-Rehman returned to Pakistan in early June after deportation charges were waived. Two students Janas Khan and Sultan Sher have been released after the Home Office withdrew deportation charges.

BBC : Terror raid students to leave UK

Friday, August 21, 2009

Terror raid students to leave UK

August 21, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested over an alleged terror plot are to fly home after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily, their solicitor has said.

Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people held by police after raids in north-west England in April, but the pair were never charged.

The Home Office tried to deport them, saying they remained a security threat.

The men decided to leave after being denied bail while appealing against deportation, their solicitor said.

The appeal was due to be heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) in March next year.

The men's solicitor, Amjad Malik, said his clients would leave on an evening flight to Islamabad on Friday night.

'Ramadan approaching'

The pair, who are Category A prisoners at HMP Manchester, were "devastated" by the decision to deny them bail, he said, and could no longer face further incarceration.

"They realised that they are going to remain in custody for another 10 months when they haven't committed any crime - that amounts to a sentence of three years," Mr Malik said.

"Also, Ramadan is coming nearer and they are not happy with the facilities in place in prison, so they wish to spend their Eid [Muslim festival for the end of the fasting month, due on 20 September] with their families in Pakistan."

He added that the men would be allowed to continue their UK studies from Pakistan.

Abdul Wahab Khan, from Tank, in the North West Frontier, was studying for a masters degree in computer studies at John Moores University in Liverpool.

Shoaib Khan, from Narowal in the Punjab, was taking an accountancy course at Kaplan Financial, which has training centres across the UK.

Mr Malik said the UK Border Agency, part of the Home Office, had withdrawn its "intention to deport" orders to allow his two clients to return home.

'Visa irregularities'

Twelve students were arrested in the terror raids in Manchester and Liverpool as part of Operation Pathway, with three subsequently released.

The Home Office is attempting to deport two others, Sultan Sher and Janus Khan, who are in immigration detention, on the grounds of visa irregularities after dropping claims that they posed a threat to national security.

Five more, referred to only as VE, UF, ZA, YB and XC, are to appear before Siac for their deportation appeal hearing on March 10.

Last week, Mr Justice Mitting ruled that Abdul Khan and Shoaib Khan, along with three others who applied for bail, should be held in custody until then.

Evidence passed to the tribunal claimed one of the men, who cannot be identified, exchanged e-mails with an associate of al-Qaeda.

MI5 analysis also suggested girls' names were used as code for bomb ingredients and that the mention of a wedding hinted at a planned attack.

The Home Office has refused to comment.

Asian Image : Students held in terror raids to fly home

Friday, August 21, 2009

Students held in terror raids to fly home

August 21, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested in a major anti-terror operation will fly home after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily, their solicitor said.

Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people arrested by police in the north west of England in April as part of Operation Pathway.

They were never charged but remained in custody as the Home Office attempted to deport them on the grounds that they remained a threat to national security.

Their appeal against deportation was due to be heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) in March.

But after they were denied bail last month, the men decided to drop the appeal and go back to Pakistan.

Their solicitor, Amjad Malik, said the men would leave on an evening flight to Islamabad tonight.

Mr Malik said his clients were “devastated” at the decision to deny them bail.

The men, who are Category A prisoners at HMP Manchester, formerly Strangeways, could not bear the circumstances of their imprisonment, he said.

Both have been told they will be allowed to continue their studies from Pakistan.

Abdul Wahab Khan, who is from Tank, in the North West Frontier, was studying for a masters degree in computer studies at John Moores University in Liverpool.

Shoaib Khan, from Narowal in the Punjab, was studying for an accountancy qualification at the Kaplan Financial Institute.

He said: “They have been in detention for 134 days. They are in Category A conditions and are strip-searched.

”We are expecting them to stay in Category A conditions for another 10 months.

”They realised that they are going to remain in custody for another 10 months when they haven’t committed any crime - that amounts to a sentence of three years.

”Also, Ramadan is coming nearer and they are not happy with the facilities in place in prison, so they wish to spend their Eid (Muslim festival) with their families in Pakistan.”

He added: “The college establishment have said they will accommodate their education from Pakistan.”

Last week Mr Justice Mitting said the pair, and three others who applied for bail, would be held in custody until the hearing next year.

Evidence passed to the tribunal suggested one of the men, who cannot be identified, exchanged emails with an al Qaida associate.

Analysis by MI5 suggested references to girls’ names were code for bomb ingredients and mention of a wedding hinted at a planned attack.

Mr Malik said the UK Border Agency, part of the Home Office, had withdrawn its “intention to deport” orders to allow the men to return home.

A Home Office spokesman refused to comment.

TeleText : Suspects Pakistan-bound

Friday, August 21, 2009

Suspects Pakistan-bound

August 21, 2009

Two Pakistani students arrested in a major anti-terrorism operation in the north west are to fly home after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily.

Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people arrested by police in April as part of Operation Pathway.

They were never charged but remained in custody after the Home Office attempted to deport them.

Click Liverpool : Liverpool terror suspects denied bail

Monday, August 17, 2009

Liverpool terror suspects denied bail

by Simon Boyle | August 17, 2009

Five suspects accused of terrorism in the North-West have had their applications for bail denied.

The suspects were arrested in April, after emails detailing an al-Qaida bomb plot on addresses in Liverpool and the North-West were intercepted by police.

The 12 men - 11 from Pakistan and one Briton - were arrested during raids on their homes by Special Branch police officers. All but the Briton were then placed in the custody of the UK Border Agency.

The arrests came as part of Operation Pathway, with raids taking place at Toxteth, Wavertree, Edge Hill, and Liverpool's John Moore's University, but none of the suspects were ever charged with a criminal offence.

Seven of the accused are now fighting government attempts to deport them, while five - including two from Liverpool - have applied for bail.

However, all five bail requests have been declined by High Court Judge Mr Justice Mittings, who said that a series of emails between the suspects and a known al-Qaida associate remained central to an ongoing investigation.

Defending one of the unnamed accused, Richard Hermer, QC, told a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), that the police interpretation of the emails sent between suspects was "far-fetched", and in fact were no more than "innocent social discussions".

But Mr Justice Mitting disputed this claim, saying that a final assessment would have to wait until the next SIAC hearing takes place next year. He said; "On the information, open and closed, which we have now, we are not satisfied that the assessment by the security service of their likely meaning is clearly wrong."

Just two of the suspects, Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, who are both students from Liverpool, have declined their right to anonymity.

Teletext : Men used codewords: judge

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Men used codewords: judge

Five Pakistani men arrested in the North West over an alleged bomb plot were denied bail because of a series of suspicious emails, a judge has said.

The five men - among 12 held by police in April's Operation Pathway - were never charged with any offence.

Justifying the decision, Mr Justice Mitting said the men used suspicious codewords in email correspondence.

Liverpool Echo : Liverpool terror suspects held over ‘intercepted email plot’

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Liverpool terror suspects held over ‘intercepted email plot’

by Ben Rossington, Liverpool Echo | August 15, 2009

ANTI-TERROR police swooped on addresses in Liverpool and the North- West after intercepting emails suspected of detailing an al-Qaida bomb plot.

More details about the April raids, which saw 12 men – 11 Pakistani nationals and one Briton – arrested by Special Branch officers, were revealed by a judge who denied some of the suspects bail.

The suspects were arrested as part of Operation Pathway, but never charged with any criminal offences.

Instead, all but the Briton were released into the custody of the UK Border Agency.

Seven are now fighting government attempts to deport them and five applied for bail, including at least two from Liverpool, while their cases are heard.

But High Court Judge Mr Justice Mittings refused their application.

He said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al-Qaida associate were “central to the open case against the appellants”.

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to “Sohaib” appear to refer to a “nikah”, or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: “They appear to refer to XC’s interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April, 2009, with one of them, Nadia.

“The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made, and that the reference to the nikah is ‘most likely’ reference to an intended attack.”

Richard Hermer, QC, for XC, told last month’s hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) the security service’s account of the emails was “far-fetched” and the emails were no more than “innocent social discussions”.

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing takes place next year.

He said: “On the information, open and closed, which we have now, we are not satisfied that the assessment by the security service of their likely meaning is clearly wrong.”

Mr Justice Mitting added that the “undisputed fact” that no explosive materials have been recovered was “at least a significant gap” in the Government’s case against the men.

“Ultimately, it may prove to be more than that,” he said.

“On any view, it assists the appellants in their denial of participation in attack planning. But at present it does no more than that.”

The Home Secretary’s case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the “nikah” was also discussed.

Of the suspects, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

Raids took place in Toxteth, Wavertree, Edge Hill and at John Moores University.

Hope University student Janas Khan, 25, was also among those arrested.

Sunday Express : MI5 Foil Bombers By Cracking Email Code

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MI5 FOIL BOMBERS BY CRACKING EMAIL CODE

By Brendan Abbott | August 15, 2009

MI5 believes it foiled an Al Qaeda attack in Britain after intercepting emails using “wedding” as code word for bomb, it was revealed yesterday.

Intelligence officers were convinced a series of ordinary-sounding messages actually referred to a planned terrorist strike around Easter, and that references to the bride “Nadia” was code for a vital component in an explosive device.

The emails were sent to one of 12 Pakistani men arrested in raids across the north-west of England in April.

None of the 12 was charged with any criminal offence but they remain in custody pending deportation to Pakistan. No explosives were found.

The emails were disclosed as Mr Justice Mitting – at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission – gave his reasons for refusing bail to five of the men at a hearing last month. There will be a full hearing later.

Fleetwood Today : 'Al Qaida emails' suspects denied bail

Saturday, August 15, 2009

'Al Qaida emails' suspects denied bail

August 15, 2009

Five Pakistani men arrested in the North West over an alleged bomb plot were denied bail because of a series of suspicious emails, a judge has said.
The five - among 12 held by police in April's Operation Pathway - were never charged with any offence and are challenging attempts by the Government to deport them on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

Giving the reasons for the decision to deny bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaida associate were "central to the open case against the appellants".

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to "Sohaib" appear to refer to a "nikah", or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia. The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing takes place next year, adding the "undisputed fact" that no explosive materials have been recovered was "at least a significant gap" in the Government's case against the men.

The Home Secretary's case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the "nikah" was also discussed.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Mr Justice Mitting said: "The Secretary of State's case on the issue of safety on return is far from complete. All we can say, for present purposes, is that is it not clear that the Secretary of State will not be able to demonstrate that it is safe to return the appellants to Pakistan."

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Regional Times : Five Pakistanis denied bail over Al-Qaeda suspicion: judge

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Five Pakistanis denied bail over Al-Qaeda suspicion: judge

RT Monitoring Desk | August 15, 2009

LONDON: Five Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terror swoop in Britain were denied bail due to a series of emails which could have implicated them in an Al-Qaeda plot, a judge revealed on Friday.

The five were among 12 men -- 11 Pakistanis and one Briton -- who were arrested in raids in April but not subsequently charged with any criminal offences. Along with two other men who did not apply for bail, the five are challenging attempts by the British government to deport them on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security. The five were denied bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month -- the reasons for which were revealed Friday. Judge John Mitting said a string of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men -- identified only as XC -- and another attributed to an Al-Qaeda associate were "central to the open case of the appellants".

The emails XC sent to "Sohaib" seemed to refer to a "nikah", or wedding, but the security services believe otherwise. "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia," Mitting said in a written statement. "The assessment of the Security Service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack." The judge said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing next year.

News Track (India) : Pak-origin terror suspects used wedding code words for al-Qaeda bombing plot: MI5

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pak-origin terror suspects used wedding code words for al-Qaeda bombing plot: MI5

August 15, 2009

London, Aug. 15 (ANI): British intelligence service MI5 has arrested a group of Pakistan-origin terror suspects who were using code words about a wedding in their emails for an al-Qaeda bomb plot, it has emerged.

One e-mail referred to a girl called Nadia who would be involved in a nikah, or wedding, between April 15 and 20 this year.

MI5 officers who were intercepting their emails concluded that the girls' names were code for explosive ingredients and the wedding was the date of a planned attack, The Times reports.

Details of the claims were revealed as part of a hearing last month of five Pakistani men seeking bail from the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

None of the men, among 12 seized by police in raids across the North West of England in April, has been charged with any criminal offences.

They are challenging government attempts to deport them on the ground that they threaten national security.

Giving the reasons for the decision to refuse bail for the first time yesterday, Justice Mitting said a series of e-mails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al-Qaeda associate were "central to the open case against the appellants."

The e-mails from the man, identified only as XC, were written to "Sohaib." In a written statement, Justice Mitting said: "The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the e-mails would have to wait until a full hearing takes place next year.

He said that the "undisputed fact" that no explosive materials have been recovered was "at least a significant gap" in the Government's case against the men.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan. (ANI)

Times : Terror suspects used wedding e-mails as 'bomb plot code’ MI5 claims

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Terror suspects used wedding e-mails as 'bomb plot code’ MI5 claims

David Brown | August 15, 2009

A group of terror suspects were arrested after MI5 intercepted e-mails about a wedding that officers believe contained codewords for an al-Qaeda bomb plot, a judge revealed yesterday.

One e-mail referred to a girl called Nadia who would be involved in a nikha, or wedding, between April 15 and 20 this year. MI5, which had been monitoring the men, decided that the girls’ names were code for explosive ingredients and the wedding was the date of a planned attack.

Details of the claims were revealed as part of a hearing last month of five Pakistani men seeking bail from the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

None of the men, among 12 seized by police in raids across the North West of England in April, has been charged with any criminal offences. They are challenging government attempts to deport them on the ground that they threaten national security.

Giving the reasons for the decision to refuse bail for the first time yesterday, Mr Justice Mitting said a series of e-mails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al-Qaeda associate were “central to the open case against the appellants”.

The e-mails from the man, identified only as XC, were written to “Sohaib”.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: “The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is ‘most likely’ reference to an intended attack.”

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, told last month’s hearing that the security service’s account of the e-mails was far-fetched and they were no more than innocent social discussions.

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the e-mails would have to wait until a full hearing takes place next year.

He said that the “undisputed fact” that no explosive materials have been recovered was “at least a significant gap” in the Government’s case against the men.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

Mirror : Coded mail bar to bail

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coded mail bar to bail

August 15, 2009

SUSPECTS

Five men arrested in an anti-terror operation but never charged were refused bail because they exchanged coded emails, officials said yesterday.

Each has been in custody since they were picked up in a series of raids across the North-West in April.

The Government is trying to deport the men, all Pakistanis, who were refused bail last month.

No explosives were found but detainee Shoaib Khan, 27, is said to have emailed an al-Qaeda man with words "most likely" referring to terror acts.

Daily Mail (Pak) : UK court denies bail to Pakistanis

Saturday, August 15, 2009

UK court denies bail to Pakistanis

Foreign Desk Report | August 15, 2009

LONDON—Five Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terror swoop in Britain were denied bail due to a series of emails which could have implicated them in an Al-Qaeda plot, a judge revealed Friday. The five were among 12 men — 11 Pakistanis and one Briton — who were arrested in raids in April but not subsequently charged with any criminal offences.

Along with two other men who did not apply for bail, the five are challenging attempts by the British government to deport them on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security. The five were denied bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month — the reasons for which were revealed Friday.

Judge John Mitting said a string of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men — identified only as XC — and another attributed to an Al-Qaeda associate were “central to the open case of the appellants”. The emails XC sent to “Sohaib” seemed to refer to a “nikah”, or wedding, but the security services believe otherwise.

“They appear to refer to XC’s interest in named girls and to a nikah after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia,” Mitting said in a written statement. “The assessment of the Security Service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is ‘most likely’ reference to an intended attack.”

The judge said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing next year.

Daily Times : Pakistanis denied British bail over Qaeda suspicions

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pakistanis denied British bail over Qaeda suspicions

AFP | August 15, 2009

LONDON: Five Pakistani students arrested in a major anti-terror swoop in Britain were denied bail due to a series of emails, which could have implicated them in an Al Qaeda plot, a judge revealed on Friday. Judge John Mitting said a string of emails were exchanged between one of the men – identified only as XC – and an Al Qaeda associate. The emails XC sent to “Sohaib” seemed to refer to a “nikah” but the security services believe otherwise. The Security Service believes references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and reference to nikah is ‘most likely’ reference to an intended attack.

Telegraph : Judge says 'al-Qaeda emails' could refer to bomb plot

Friday, August 14, 2009

Judge says 'al-Qaeda emails' could refer to bomb plot

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | August 14, 2009

Five Pakistani students have been denied bail after a judge decided they may have used coded emails about girls and cars to plan an Easter bombing campaign in Manchester.

The emails, disclosed by the Daily Telegraph last month, appear to use girl’s names to allude to bomb-making chemicals and a planned wedding as code for the attack.

Mr Justice Mitting, a high court judge, chairing the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), said, “unless that assessment is clearly wrong we must, for present purposes, accept it.”

He said the commission had examined further evidence about the emails behind closed doors and was refusing bail until a full hearing next year.

The Government is trying to deport the students saying they are a risk to national security because they were members of a “UK-based network involved in terrorist operational activity in the UK, most likely attack planning.”

MI5 claims that the terrorist network was “co-ordinated” by a 23-year-old student who can only be referred to as “XC”, who sent and received the emails, and that it was “directed by al-Qaeda based overseas.”

They believe he was using girl’s names to allude to chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and phrases such as “weak and difficult to convince” or “crystal clear” to the strengths of the chemicals available.

In one email the alleged commander in Pakistan referred to a “new car” which MI5 believed could refer to car bombs.

An email sent by XC on the afternoon of April 3 sparked fears that an attack was imminent when he said he had “agreed to conduct the nikah [wedding] after 15th and before 20th of this month” adding: “We will have many guests attending the party…I wished you could be here as well to enjoy the party.” It was this that led to police raids across the north west in which 11 men were arrested.

Four of the students attended one or both meetings with XC held on March 23 and April 1 this year when the “wedding” was allegedly discussed.

Mr Justice Mitting said the commission did not find MI5’s assessment of the meetings was “clearly wrong.”

Referring to the emails, he added: “On the information, open and closed, which we have now, we are not satisfied that the assessment by the Security Service of their likely meaning is clearly wrong.”

Robin Tam, QC for the government, said the emails were “central to the open case against the appellants” but Richard Hermer QC for XC told the commission that the assessment was far fetched and that when the emails were examined in the context of all the others stored on the hard drive of the man’s computer, they would be shown to be no more than innocent social discussions.

The commission said XC had submitted a “belated, as yet unsigned, statement” which made the same claim and suggested that the emails refer to “girls, though not by their own names, and that he hoped to marry in April 2009.”

All the appellants have pointed to the fact that no explosives were recovered and that there is nothing to link any of those arrested with explosives.

Of the 11 men initially arrested, eight are appealing against deportation on national security grounds, including XC, Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan, Mohammed Ramzan, Ahmed Faraz Khan and Tariq ur-Rehman, who has returned to Pakistan voluntarily. Five had their application for bail turned down.

Two others, Janas Khan and Sultan Sher, have been bailed pending deportation for visa irregularities although the government still maintains they were “involved in an extreme Islamist network.”

A British man, Hamza Shinwari, was released without charge.

The three unnamed men, including XC, have declined to waive their anonymity under the rules that govern SIAC.

The News (Pak) : Pakistanis denied bail over Qaeda suspicion: judge

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pakistanis denied bail over Qaeda suspicion: judge

August 14, 2009

LONDON: Five Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terror swoop in Britain were denied bail due to a series of emails which could have implicated them in an Al-Qaeda plot, a judge revealed Friday.

The five were among 12 men -- 11 Pakistanis and one Briton -- who were arrested in raids in April but not subsequently charged with any criminal offences.

Along with two other men who did not apply for bail, the five are challenging attempts by the British government to deport them on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security.

The five were denied bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month -- the reasons for which were revealed Friday.

Judge John Mitting said a string of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men -- identified only as XC -- and another attributed to an Al-Qaeda associate were "central to the open case of the appellants".

The emails XC sent to "Sohaib" seemed to refer to a "nikah", or wedding, but the security services believe otherwise.

"They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia," Mitting said in a written statement.

"The assessment of the Security Service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

The judge said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing next year.

Geo TV (Pak) : Pakistanis denied bail over Qaeda suspicion: judge

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pakistanis denied bail over Qaeda suspicion: judge

August 14, 2009

LONDON: Five Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terror swoop in Britain were denied bail due to a series of emails which could have implicated them in an Al-Qaeda plot, a judge revealed Friday.

The five were among 12 men -- 11 Pakistanis and one Briton -- who were arrested in raids in April but not subsequently charged with any criminal offences.

Along with two other men who did not apply for bail, the five are challenging attempts by the British government to deport them on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security.

The five were denied bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month -- the reasons for which were revealed Friday.

Judge John Mitting said a string of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men -- identified only as XC -- and another attributed to an Al-Qaeda associate were "central to the open case of the appellants".

The emails XC sent to "Sohaib" seemed to refer to a "nikah", or wedding, but the security services believe otherwise.

"They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia," Mitting said in a written statement.

"The assessment of the Security Service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

The judge said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing next year.

Zee News : Pakistanis denied British bail over Qaeda suspicions: Judge

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pakistanis denied British bail over Qaeda suspicions: Judge

Bureau Report | August 14, 2009

London: Five Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terror swoop in Britain were denied bail due to a series of emails which could have implicated them in an Al-Qaeda plot, a judge revealed on Friday.

The five were among 12 men -- 11 Pakistanis and one Briton -- who were arrested in raids in April but not subsequently charged with any criminal offences.

Along with two other men who did not apply for bail, the five are challenging attempts by the British government to deport them on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security.

The five were denied bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month -- the reasons for which were revealed today.

Judge John Mitting said a string of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men -- identified only as XC -- and another attributed to an Al-Qaeda associate were "central to the open case of the appellants".

The emails XC sent to "Sohaib" seemed to refer to a "nikah", or wedding, but the security services believe otherwise.

"They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia," Mitting said in a written statement.

Fleetwood Today : Terror suspects denied bail because of 'al Qaida emails'

Friday, August 14, 2009

Terror suspects denied bail because of 'al Qaida emails'

August 14, 2009

Five Pakistani men arrested in the North West over an alleged bomb plot were denied bail because of a series of suspicious emails, a judge has said.
The five - among 12 held by police in April's Operation Pathway - were never charged with any offence and are challenging attempts by the Government to deport them on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

Giving the reasons for the decision to deny bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaida associate were "central to the open case against the appellants".

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to "Sohaib" appear to refer to a "nikah", or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia. The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing takes place next year, adding the "undisputed fact" that no explosive materials have been recovered was "at least a significant gap" in the Government's case against the men.

The Home Secretary's case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the "nikah" was also discussed.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Mr Justice Mitting said: "The Secretary of State's case on the issue of safety on return is far from complete. All we can say, for present purposes, is that is it not clear that the Secretary of State will not be able to demonstrate that it is safe to return the appellants to Pakistan."

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Lancashire Telegraph : Emails led to North West terror arrests

Friday, August 14, 2009

Emails led to North West terror arrests

August 14, 2009

A GROUP of men arrested in a major anti-terrorist operation were denied bail because of a series of emails which could implicate them in an al Qaida bomb plot, a judge has revealed.

The five, including one man arrested in Clitheroe, were among 12 people held by police in raids across the north west of England in April as part of Operation Pathway.

They were never charged with any criminal offences.

Two of the 12 suspects were arrested at the Clitheroe Homebase store where they were working as security guards.

They were not from the area and were staying at the Brooklyn Guest House, Pimlico Road while in the town.

Along with two other Pakistani men, who did not apply for bail, they five are challenging attempts by the Government to deport them on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

At a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month the men were denied bail.

Giving the reasons for the decision for the first time, Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaida associate were "central to the open case against the appellants".

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to "Sohaib" appear to refer to a "nikah", or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia.

"The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

Mr Justice Mitting continued: "The first, and ultimately determinative issue, is, therefore: is the assessment of the security service plainly wrong?"

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, told last month's hearing the security service's account of the emails was far-fetched and the emails were no more than innocent social discussions.

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing takes place next year.

The Home Secretary's case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the "nikah" was also discussed.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

This Is Lancashire : Emails led to North West terror arrests

Friday, August 14, 2009

Emails led to North West terror arrests

August 14, 2009

A GROUP of men arrested in a major anti-terrorist operation were denied bail because of a series of emails which could implicate them in an al Qaida bomb plot, a judge has revealed.

The five, including one man arrested in Clitheroe, were among 12 people held by police in raids across the north west of England in April as part of Operation Pathway.

They were never charged with any criminal offences.

Two of the 12 suspects were arrested at the Clitheroe Homebase store where they were working as security guards.

They were not from the area and were staying at the Brooklyn Guest House, Pimlico Road while in the town.

Along with two other Pakistani men, who did not apply for bail, they five are challenging attempts by the Government to deport them on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

At a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month the men were denied bail.

Giving the reasons for the decision for the first time, Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaida associate were "central to the open case against the appellants".

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to "Sohaib" appear to refer to a "nikah", or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia.

"The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

Mr Justice Mitting continued: "The first, and ultimately determinative issue, is, therefore: is the assessment of the security service plainly wrong?"

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, told last month's hearing the security service's account of the emails was far-fetched and the emails were no more than innocent social discussions.

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing takes place next year.

The Home Secretary's case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the "nikah" was also discussed.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

Metro.co.UK : UK terror suspects 'in Al Qaida bomb plot'

Friday, August 14, 2009

UK terror suspects 'in Al Qaida bomb plot'

August 14, 2009

A group of Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terrorist operation were denied bail because of a series of emails which could implicate them in an al Qaida bomb plot, a judge revealed today.

The five were among 12 men held by police in raids across the north west of England in April as part of Operation Pathway, but never charged with any criminal offences.

Along with two other Pakistani men who did not apply for bail, they are challenging attempts by the Government to deport them on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

At a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month the men were denied bail.

Giving the reasons for the decision for the first time today, Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaida associate were "central to the open case against the appellants".

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to "Sohaib" appear to refer to a "nikah", or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia.

"The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

Mr Justice Mitting continued: "The first, and ultimately determinative issue, is, therefore: is the assessment of the security service plainly wrong?"

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, told last month's hearing the security service's account of the emails was far-fetched and the emails were no more than innocent social discussions.

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing takes place next year.

He said: "On the information, open and closed, which we have now, we are not satisfied that the assessment by the security service of their likely meaning is clearly wrong."

Mr Justice Mitting added that the "undisputed fact" that no explosive materials have been recovered was "at least a significant gap" in the Government's case against the men.

"Ultimately, it may prove to be more than that," he said.

"On any view, it assists the appellants in their denial of participation in attack planning. But at present it does no more than that."

The Home Secretary's case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the "nikah" was also discussed.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Mr Justice Mitting said: "The Secretary of State's case on the issue of safety on return is far from complete. All we can say, for present purposes, is that is it not clear that the Secretary of State will not be able to demonstrate that it is safe to return the appellants to Pakistan."

He said there was no reason to doubt the men came from respectable families and that each of them were undertaking legitimate study.

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

London Evening Standard : Wedding emails sparked terror swoop

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wedding emails sparked terror swoop

Martin Bentham, Home Affairs Editor | August 14, 2009

Seven Pakistani terror suspects were arrested after MI5 decided that their emails contained codewords for a deadly bomb plot.

One email suggested that a girl called "Nadia" would be involved in a "nikah", a wedding, between 15 and 20 April this year - part of an exchange which defence lawyers claim was entirely innocent.

The message, and others sent between the alleged plotters, triggered a major anti-terrorist operation after MI5, which had been monitoring the men for some time, decided that the girls' names were code for explosive ingredients and the "wedding" was the intended attack.

The details were disclosed today following a hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission last month at which five of the men, who are all facing deportation on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security, applied to be released on bail.

The judge in the case, Mr Justice Mitting, refused their application, saying there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that MI5's view was "plainly wrong", in a decision which means that the men will stay in custody until next year.

Giving the reasons for his decision today, Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaeda associate were "central to the open case against the appellants".

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to "Sohaib" appear to refer to a "nikah".

Mr Justice Mitting added: "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia.

The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

He continued: "The first, and ultimately determinative issue is, therefore: is the assessment of the security service plainly wrong?"

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, told last month's hearing the security service's account of the emails was far-fetched and the emails were no more than innocent social discussions.

Mr Justice Mitting said, however, that he could approve the men's release only if it was clear that MI5's judgment was "plainly wrong" and because this was not currently the case, the detainees would have to remain in custody.

He said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing takes place next year and added: "On the information, open and closed, which we have now, we are not satisfied that the assessment by the security service of their likely meaning is clearly wrong."

The men's bail application was opposed by the Home Office, which submitted evidence that the five attended one or both of two meetings on 23 March and 1 April in which the "nikah" was also discussed.

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

They were among 12 terror suspects arrested in April in a high-profile police operation across the North-West.

Three of the other men originally arrested were later released. A further two have also since been freed but have been electronically tagged and are due to be removed from the country for alleged visa irregularities.

The raids had been rushed forward after the Met's then anti-terror chief, Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick, was photographed carrying details of the planned operation into Downing Street.

He resigned the following day because of the blunder.

The failure of the raids to result in any prosecutions led to concern from some critics that police and MI5 had overreacted and unfairly targeted the men detained.

But security sources insist that the raids successfully disrupted a potentially major plot.

Asian Image : Emails led to North West terror arrests

Friday, August 14, 2009

Emails led to North West terror arrests

August 14, 2009

A GROUP of men arrested in a major anti-terrorist operation were denied bail because of a series of emails which could implicate them in an al Qaida bomb plot, a judge has revealed.

The five, including one man arrested in Clitheroe, were among 12 people held by police in raids across the north west of England in April as part of Operation Pathway.

They were never charged with any criminal offences.

Two of the 12 suspects were arrested at the Clitheroe Homebase store where they were working as security guards.

They were not from the area and were staying at the Brooklyn Guest House, Pimlico Road while in the town.

Along with two other Pakistani men, who did not apply for bail, they five are challenging attempts by the Government to deport them on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

At a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month the men were denied bail.

Giving the reasons for the decision for the first time, Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaida associate were "central to the open case against the appellants".

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to "Sohaib" appear to refer to a "nikah", or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: "They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia.

"The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

Mr Justice Mitting continued: "The first, and ultimately determinative issue, is, therefore: is the assessment of the security service plainly wrong?"

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, told last month's hearing the security service's account of the emails was far-fetched and the emails were no more than innocent social discussions.

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing takes place next year.

The Home Secretary's case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the "nikah" was also discussed.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

AFP : Pakistanis denied bail over Qaeda suspicions: judge

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pakistanis denied bail over Qaeda suspicions: judge

August 14, 2009

LONDON — Five Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terror swoop were denied bail due to a series of emails which could have implicated them in an Al-Qaeda plot, a judge revealed on Friday.

The five were among 12 men -- 11 Pakistanis and one Briton -- who were arrested in raids in April but not subsequently charged with any criminal offences.

Along with two other men who did not apply for bail, the five are challenging attempts by the government to deport them on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security.

The five were denied bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month -- the reasons for which were revealed Friday.

Judge John Mitting said a string of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men -- identified only as XC -- and another attributed to an Al-Qaeda associate were "central to the open case of the appellants".

The emails XC sent to "Sohaib" seemed to refer to a "nikah", or wedding, but the security services believe otherwise.

"They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia," Mitting said in a written statement.

"The assessment of the Security Service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

The judge said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing next year.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

BBC : Cleared terror man fights to stay

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cleared terror man fights to stay

August 14, 2009

One of the men arrested in north-west England accused of being part of an alleged terror plot has told a tribunal he is a genuine student.

Pakistani Janas Khan was one of 12 men who were arrested and released without charge in the raids in April.

The Home Office is trying to deport him, saying he had falsely stated on his visa he was not working while studying, when in fact he was.

He disputed the hours they said he was working and said he was a good student.

At the tribunal, the Home Office produced a form on which Mr Khan had stated he was not working while studying.

'Ordinary student'

But they said he was working part time as a security guard in Clitheroe, Lancs, and produced time sheets showing he was working up to 50 hours a week, when the maximum students can work is 20 hours per week.

Mr Khan said he did not work all of the shifts and often subcontracted the work to other people.

His barrister, John Nicholson said it was a very loose form of employment without a contract or terms and conditions.

Mr Nicholson said: "He is not a terrorist, he is not an asylum seeker, he is an ordinary student who's done very well in his classes, getting very good marks. He has got a lot of support from the Liverpool Hope University here today."

Mr Khan said: "If I don't get my degree I will go home with empty hands and I won't have a future."

The tribunal also heard if he returned to Pakistan without his degree, the cloud of suspicion would remain over him because of the fact he was arrested in the counter terrorism operation.

The judge's decision should be relayed to Khan within the next 10 days.

Reuters : Pakistani suspects refused UK bail due coded email

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pakistani suspects refused UK bail due coded email

August 14, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - Five Pakistani men arrested in a British anti-terrorism operation but never charged have been refused bail because they had exchanged a series of coded emails, officials said.

The five were among 12 men, mostly students, arrested in high profile counter-terrorism raids across northwest England in April but never formally charged with any criminal offence because of insufficent evidence.

They are being detained while the government tries to deport them and were refused bail at their hearing last month, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), which deals with such cases, revealed on Friday.

A series of seven emails exchanged between Shoaib Khan, 27, and an associate alleged to be an al Qaeda operative detailed a 'nikah' or wedding which the British Security Service said "most likely" referred to an intended attack.

The emails also included girls' names such as 'Nadia' which might refer to ingredients used in an explosive device, the ruling said.

Khan's lawyer said the emails referred to girls, though not by their own names, that Khan hoped to marry in April 2009. Final interpretation of the emails will be addressed at a hearing next year.

The five Pakistanis, who will remain in custody until that hearing, have not been linked to anyone arrested with explosives, and no explosives have been found, SIAC said.

Several hundred officers took part in the raids, which had to be hurriedly brought forward after Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer was photographed openly carrying a secret document detailing plans for the arrests.

Britain has demanded Pakistan do more to combat terrorism. Most terrorist plots in Britain since Sept. 11, 2001 have had links to Pakistan, including suicide bombings in July 2005 which killed 52 people on London's underground and bus network.

Pakistan criticised Britain over the April arrests, saying more could have been done to check the background of foreign students.

(Reporting by Farah Master, editing by Tim Pearce)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Daily Mail : Terror suspects denied bail by judge because of emails 'linking them to Al Qaeda bomb plot'

Friday, August 14, 2009

Terror suspects denied bail by judge because of emails 'linking them to Al Qaeda bomb plot'

By Daily Mail Reporter | August 14, 2009

Seven Pakistani men were arrested in a major anti-terrorist raid because MI5 believed emails they sent contained codewords referring to a planned attack.

One email suggested that a girl called 'Nadia' would be involved in a 'nikah', a wedding, between 15th and 20th April this year - part of an exchange which defence lawyers claim was entirely innocent.

The message triggered a major anti-terrorist operation after MI5, which had been monitoring the men for some time, decided that the girls’ names were code for explosive ingredients and the 'wedding' was the intended attack.

Giving the reasons for his decision today, Mr Justice Mitting said a series of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men and another attributed to an al Qaeda associate were 'central to the open case against the appellants'.

The emails from the man, identified only as XC, to 'Sohaib"'appear to refer to a 'nikah', or wedding.

In a written statement, Mr Justice Mitting said: 'They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah (wedding) after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia.

'The assessment of the security service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is "most likely" reference to an intended attack.'

Mr Justice Mitting continued: 'The first, and ultimately determinative issue, is, therefore: is the assessment of the security service plainly wrong?'

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, told last month's hearing that the security service's account of the emails was far-fetched and the emails were no more than innocent social discussions.

Mr Justice Mitting said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SAC hearing takes place next year.

He said: 'On the information, open and closed, which we have now, we are not satisfied that the assessment by the security service of their likely meaning is clearly wrong.'

Mr Justice Mitting added that the 'undisputed fact' that no explosive materials have been recovered was 'at least a significant gap' in the Government's case against the men.

'Ultimately, it may prove to be more than that,' he said.

'On any view, it assists the appellants in their denial of participation in attack planning. But at present it does no more than that.'

The Home Secretary's case also rests on evidence that the five men attended one or both of two meetings on March 23 and April 1 in which the 'nikah' was also discussed.

Lawyers for the men have sought assurances that they will not be arrested and detained indefinitely if they are forced to go back to Pakistan.

Mr Justice Mitting said: 'The Secretary of State's case on the issue of safety on return is far from complete. All we can say, for present purposes, is that is it not clear that the Secretary of State will not be able to demonstrate that it is safe to return the appellants to Pakistan.'

He said there was no reason to doubt the men came from respectable families and that each of them were undertaking legitimate study.

Of the five men, students Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, from Liverpool, have waived their right to anonymity.

Teletext : Bail denial to be explained

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bail denial to be explained

August 14, 2009

The reasons why a group of Pakistani men held in an anti-terror operation in the North West were denied bail by an immigration court are to be revealed.

The five men - among 12 held by police in April's Operation Pathway - were never charged with any offence.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission is to give the reasons behind the decision.

Telegraph : Manchester 'terror plot' emails

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manchester 'terror plot' emails

Extracts from emails intercepted by MI5 in connection with an alleged al-Qaeda plot in Manchester

July 30, 2009

Dec 3 11.33am

from humaonion@xxxxx.com (student in Manchester) to sana_pakhtana@xxxxx.com (contact in Pakistan called Sohaib)

I saw a slight glimpse of Huma day before yesterday but she was very weak and difficult to convince.

Nadia is more gorgeous than Huma at the moment and she is easy to befriend….Nadia is crystal clear girl and it wont take long to relate with her.

Dec 14 12.18pm

from Pakistan to Manchester

Hmm tell me that how is ur sweety girl friend I miss her a lot

Dec 15 8.47pm

From Manchester to Pakistan

About my Girl friend. As I told you about Huma’s affair. Nadia is still waiting for my response. She is very loyal and She has created a place in my heart. You know Gulnaz and Fozia. WOW man. I would love to get them in my friends list but you know I have been thinking about their abilities. Gulnaz sounds ok but she is found [sic] of money. Fozia is some times bull shit. She lets you down sometime.

I am still keeping my car because most of the jobs they ask for it and other reason is you know girls mostly like guys with car.

Jan 15 2009 12.41pm

from Pakistan to Manchester

hmmmm so u have a lot of girl friendsss me also like girlsssss pay my salam [greetings] for ur girls friend ok

when ever u will mariii soo plz first see ur girl friend how is she…is she nice and beautiy and honest bec [because] we marii in life on [only] one time

Feb 16 1.35pm

from Manchester to Pakistan

You know what girls are like. I am bore of being bachelor now LOL [laughs out loud] so I would try to make it happen in the near future. I will be careful about my choice because your whole family life depends upon the decision.

April 3 4.19pm

from Manchester to Pakistan

I met with Nadia family and we both parties have agreed to conduct the nikah [wedding] after 15th and before 20th of this month.

I am delighted that they have strong family values and we will have many guests attending the party. Anyways I wished you could be here as well to enjoy the party.

THE CODE

MI5 believe that the student was using the girls’ names Huma, Nadia, Gulnaz and Fozia to refer to different bomb-making chemicals.

“Weak and difficult to convince” is thought to refer to the strength of hydrogen peroxide available, and “crystal clear” to the strength of another chemical.

Their “abilities” and “letting you down” refer to how efficient the chemicals were, to which the answer from Pakistan comes that that the girl should be “nice and beautiful and honest because we marry in life only once.”

The security service feared that a reference to “girls mostly like guys with car” referred to a possible car bomb and the constant reference to weddings and parties, to the attack itself.

Telegraph : Cars and girls: email 'codewords’ that put MI5 on terrorist alert

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cars and girls: email 'codewords’ that put MI5 on terrorist alert

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | July 30, 2009

A Muslim terrorist suspect sent coded emails to an al-Qaeda commander in which references to his impending marriage were in fact details of a planned bomb attack in Britain, MI5 has claimed.

The messages, intercepted by the security service, allegedly showed that an extremist cell in Manchester was communicating with a commander in Pakistan to execute an Easter bombing campaign.

The emails, written by a 23-year-old Pakistani student, appeared to refer to several girlfriends and plans to buy a car. But the Home Office claimed that the text was code for a car-bomb attack intended to take place within days.

It led to the largest terrorist alert in Britain for two years and a series of arrests, which were brought forward after Bob Quick, the then head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, was pictured walking into Downing Street holding a piece of paper disclosing details of the operation, code-named Pathway.

Police across the North West moved in to arrest 11 students on April 8. During subsequent raids, officers found an A-to-Z with streets marked, photographs of shopping centres and a video of the men on a trip to the Welsh countryside. However, they found no evidence of bomb-making and none of the men was charged with terrorism offences.

On Monday, the eight emails were presented in evidence to a special hearing before a high court judge to decide whether the men should be deported.

MI5 believed that girls’ names were used to refer to chemicals and that talk of a “wedding” was actually a reference to the bombing itself. In one of the messages, allegedly sent to an al-Qaeda commander in Pakistan, the student, alleged to have been the leader of the cell, wrote that he planned to get married in 12 to 17 days. That caused alarm among the security services who feared an attack was imminent.

The Government is now attempting to have 10 men, who entered the country on student visas, deported to Pakistan, claiming they are a threat to national security.

In legal documents submitted by Robin Tam QC, for the Home Secretary, the Government maintained that the men were members of a “UK-based network involved in terrorist operational activity in the UK, most likely attack planning” and that the network was “directed by al-Qaeda based overseas”.

MI5 believes that the 23-year-old student, who cannot be named but is referred to as XC, was the “linchpin” of the group.

Eight men are appealing against deportation at the tribunal, including XC, Abdul Wahab Khan, Shoaib Khan, Mohammed Ramzan, Ahmed Faraz Khan and Tariq ur-Rehman, who has returned to Pakistan voluntarily.

Two others, Janas Khan and Sultan Sher, have been bailed pending deportation for visa irregularities, although the Government still maintains that they were “involved in an extreme Islamist network”. A British man, Hamza Shinwari, was released without further action being taken.

The men claim they were just friends and the trip to Wales was for sightseeing and playing cricket. Pictures in which they posed as “commandos” were just for fun, they said.

Richard Hermer QC, for XC, said that the Government’s evidence was of a “pitiful quality” and that the investigation by MI5 had been “at best incompetent”. “Despite what we assume was the most rigorous of counter-terrorism investigations, not one jot of evidence was found of bomb-making,” he said.

The Government’s case would “dissolve” if a thorough examination was made of XC’s internet use, which comprised hundreds of emails and visits to Muslim chat rooms in connection with a relationship, Mr Hermer said.

He added that, through text messages on XC’s mobile phone, police had traced a young woman who confirmed they were in a relationship and considering marriage.

The men were all denied bail yesterday pending a full hearing in March or April next year.

Telegraph : Manchester 'terror plot': problems MI5 face with intercepting emails

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manchester 'terror plot': problems MI5 face with intercepting emails

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | July 30, 2009

On the face of it a series of emails that compare the merits of girls who are “gorgeous” or “weak and difficult to convince” would not be the kind of thing to spark a nationwide terrorist alert.

The difficulty MI5 and GCHQ have always faced is trying to sift innocuous communications from those that may contain vital information on a potential attack and then to de-code them.

Their starting point has to be in identifying their targets and these days that is followed by a request for warrants to tap into emails.

Once that is done all the email traffic requested is diverted from the internet server to an analyst whose job it is to sift the humdrum from crucial intelligence.

In some cases they can spot a series of give away indications that are supposed to flag up to the recipient that this is an important email.

These emails contain some of those, although we cannot reveal what they are.

Another indication is a series of exchanges that do not seem to discuss anything, often sandwiched between platitudes and meaningless greetings.

The analysts are well practiced at attempting to decode the cryptic language used by al-Qaeda.

In the past terrorist have used the words “come over” even though they were on different continents – meaning “go on-line” – while others have talked in street slang using the term “nigga” and “BigDawg” to disguise their purpose.

The use of girls’ names is also a popular device designed to persuade anyone intercepting the emails that the senders are more interested in earthly pursuits than terrorism.

The problem is that the emails may not contain incriminating information at all, and in this case the decision to move in has resulted in a tussle in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) rather than the courts.

SIAC has the advantage of being able to hear information such as these emails behind closed doors but the crucial information they will want to know is who was receiving them.

Despite the lack of convictions and the men’s vehement protestations of innocence in Britain and Pakistan, MI5 feel vindicated. They maintain these men were connected to al-Qaeda and were planning an attack, and the fact that did not go ahead is enough for them.

Dawn : Bail pleas of seven students rejected in Britain

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bail pleas of seven students rejected in Britain

By M. Ziauddin | July 30, 2009

LONDON: The Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Wednesday rejected bail applications of all seven Pakistani students originally arrested along with three of their other countrymen on suspicion of being involved in terrorism activities but later released for want of actionable evidence and ordered to be deported on the grounds of national security.

Their appeals against deportation orders will now come up for hearing not before April 2010 when they would be completing almost one full year in detention since their arrest in April this year.

Out of the 10 arrested students one has already left for Pakistan voluntarily and two were released earlier this month on bail but are under police surveillance round the clock.

Soon after it was found that the students were arrested without any hard evidence, the British Home Office, looking for a face-saver, tried to rush the Pakistan government into signing a MoU under which it would be obliged not to arrest or torture any Pakistani the British government would deport on grounds of national security.

Islamabad refused to sign any such document on the grounds that if anyone was deported for being a threat to UK’s national security he would be as much a threat to its security because Pakistan was a front-line state in the war against terrorism.

Sibghatullah Kadri QC, who appeared pro bono on behalf of one of the detainees, told Dawn after the bail application was rejected that this was the first time in his legal career in the UK spanning over almost half a century that he found the ‘fair-minded’ British legal system trying to hide behind highly unfair rules.

‘It is nothing but pure pique on the part of British Home Office,’ he said. ‘Having failed to obtain a face saver from Pakistan the HO was now bent upon destroying the lives and the careers of the seven students,’ he added.

He was not sure if the appeals against deportation orders would come up for hearing even in April 2010, ‘I think they don’t have any intention of releasing them on bail and under the law they cannot deport them unless Pakistan agrees to sign an unfair agreement so I suspect that they would shut the doors on these students and throw the keys.’

Top News (India) : Britain denies bail to cleared Pakistani ''terror suspect'' students

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Britain denies bail to cleared Pakistani ''terror suspect'' students

Submitted by Mohit Joshi | July 30, 2009

July 30 : British authorities have denied bail to Pakistani students detained earlier this year on national security grounds in simultaneous raids conducted across the country.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission after hearing the bail pleas of two students, Muhammad Ramazan and Ahmad Faraz at the Royal Courts of Justice here, refused to grant bail in all seven cases levied against them, The Daily Times reports.

The commission also turned down the application filed by other two students, Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan filed earlier in the week.

Hearing the bail pleas, Justice Mitting said that none of the applications were viable for bail, and said: "Full reasons will be given in due course'.

It may be recalled that 12 students were arrested in raids across Britain in April. Ten out of the 12 taken into custody were Pakistanis, who had come to Britain on student visas.

After three weeks of intense interrogation all charges against the students were dropped in May due to lack of evidence.

However, they have been kept locked in high-security prisons under immigration laws, and handed over to the UK Borders Agency for deportation. (ANI)

Pakistan Times : Bail plea of Pakistani students in UK rejected

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bail plea of Pakistani students in UK rejected

'Pakistan Times' UK Bureau | July 30, 2009

LONDON (UK): The bail applications moved by incarcerated Pakistani students - detained by the British authorities on reasons of national security - have been refused by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

The Commission at the Royal Courts of Justice in Central London heard bail applications of Muhammad Ramazan and Ahmad Faraz in open and secret sessions and refused bail in all the seven cases.

The bail applications on behalf of Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan which were moved Tuesday by Barrister Sigbhatullah Kadri and solicitor Amjad Malik were also turned down and as that of Abid Naseer which was submitted on Monday.

The solicitors for Rizwan Sharif and Muhammad Farooq did not apply for bail today but according to Amjad Malik, Justice Mitting turned all applications down saying “none admitted to bail and full reasons will be given in due course.”

The students were among 12 persons arrested last April in a security swoop across north west England by the British anti-terror units.After three weeks, the charges were dropped on lack of evidence but the students - ten of whom hailing from NWFP - were handed over to the UK Borders Agency for deportation.

One of them Tariq-ur-Rehman returned home last month on his own after the British authorities agreed to withdraw deportation charges. The authorities have already released two other students Janas Khan and Sher Khan from detention.

Daily Times : Britain refuses bail to Pakistani students

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Britain refuses bail to Pakistani students

APP | Thursday, July 30, 2009

LONDON: The Special Immigration Appeals Commission on Wednesday refused bail applications moved by Pakistani students, detained by the British authorities for "posing a high risk" to the UK national security.

The commission at the Royal Courts of Justice in Central London heard bail pleas by Muhammad Ramazan and Ahmad Faraz in open and secret sessions and refused bail in all seven cases. The bail applications on behalf of Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan, which were moved on Tuesday by Barrister Sigbhatullah Kadri and solicitor Amjad Malik, and that of Abid Naseer – submitted on Monday – were also turned down.

The attorneys for Rizwan Sharif and Muhammad Farooq did not apply for bail on Wednesday but according to Amjad Malik, Justice Mitting turned all applications down saying "none admitted to bail and full reasons will be given in due course".

The students were among 12 people arrested last April in a security swoop across north-west England by the British anti-terror units. After three weeks, the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence but the students, 10 of whom hailing from the NWFP, were handed over to the UK Borders Agency for deportation. One of them, Tariqur Rehman, returned home last month on his own after the British authorities agreed to withdraw deportation charges. The authorities have already released two other students – Janas Khan and Sher Khan.

Sky News : 'High Risk' Pakistani Students Refused Bail

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'High Risk' Pakistani Students Refused Bail

Tom Rayner, home affairs producer | July 29, 2009

Seven Pakistani students who "pose a high risk" to UK national security have been refused bail while they await deportation hearings next year.

The men were arrested during anti-terror raids as part of Operation Pathway, which took place across the North West of England in April.

The operation had to be brought forward when Britain's then anti-terrorism chief Bob Quick was photographed carrying clearly visible secret papers relating to the raids.

None of the men has been charged with terror offences, due to insufficient evidence.

Lawyers representing them argued it was unacceptable to remand them in custody while they awaited an appeal next spring, which will consider whether they can be deported to Pakistan.

But Mr Justice Mitting has delivered the judgement of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission which ruled in favour of the Government, agreeing that bail should not be granted.

Anonymity restrictions have been lifted in the cases of Ahmed Faraz Khan, Mohammed Ramsen, Abdul Wahab Khan and Shoaib Khan.

Three other men cannot be identified.

A Home Office spokesperson welcomed the decision, saying: "Protecting the public is the Government's top priority and we argued that this is best served by not granting these men bail while we seek their deportation on national security grounds."

Earlier this month it was revealed that two of the 11 men arrested in the raids across the North West were no longer considered a security risk.

Sultan Sher and Janus Khan, who have been bailed, now face deportation on the grounds of "visa irregularities".