Liverpool Echo : Liverpool terror arrest: Friend’s plea for arrested suspect

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Liverpool terror arrest: Friend’s plea for arrested suspect

April 14, 2009

A FRIEND of a Liverpool student arrested in raids on suspected terrorists today insisted he is innocent.

The Nigerian student, who only gave his name as Jamil, said Janas Khan, 25, and another student had been caught up in the raids because he had broken the terms of his visa.

It comes following a day of turmoil for city residents evacuated from their homes in Highgate Street, Edge Hill, yesterday after searches led to bomb disposal experts being called in.

No device has been found and police have now concluded their search of the property.

Residents said chemicals were mentioned by officers leading them from their homes which they finally returned to at 8.45pm.

Today Jamil told the ECHO: “We are studying for an international Masters in business management at Liverpool Hope University.

“We attended lectures and there was nothing to suggest in any way that they were terrorists.

“I have known them personally as friends, they will be acquitted.

“They lived together and were looking for a second hand car for their jobs as security guards.”

He said he believed they had been arrested by police because they were unable to find them at the time of checking their visas. Khan was one of several men understood to be staying at a £115,000 flat in Wavertree thought to be owned by Mohammed Benhammedi.

Property tycoon Benhammedi has been identified by the US as a “key financier” for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an organisation described as being part of the “wider Al-Qaeda associated movement”.

During his time in the UK, Khan was working for a company that provided security for Liverpool and England footballers. Khan resigned from his job, but signed on with another company to work as a security guard at a new Homebase which opened in Clitheroe last week.

He was among 12 men arrested in the North West, including John Moores University student Mohammad Ramzan, 25 and Abdul Wahab Khan.

After being ordered to evacuate Highgate Street at around 2.30pm residents were allowed to return six hours later.

Mother-of-four Ann-Marie Bennett, 32, said: “I can understand that they don’t want to give a lot of information out but we had children with us and we were not told anything.”