Five British Muslims were convicted today of plotting to carry out a deadly bombing spree across the U.K., ending the country's longest terrorism trial. Two men - Shujah Mahmood, 20, and Nabeel Hussain, 21 - were acquitted.
The five men were found guilty on the London jury's 27th day of deliberations. They were all given life sentences by Justice Michael Astill.
Imran Khan, lawyer for the aquitted man Nabeel Hussain, said on behalf of the 5 convicted men that the trial was marred by "coached witnesses'' and "an atmosphere of hostility against Muslims at home and abroad.''
"We did not pose any threat to the security of this country,'' the men said in the statement. "`It is no offense to be young, Muslim and angry at injustices.''
Salahuddin Amin, one of the convicted men, proclaimed his innocence in a statement read by his lawyer lawyer Tayab Ali. outside the court.
"An outrageous confidence trick has been played on the jury and against me,'' he said. "I was convicted by false evidence and the fruits of torture.''
Prior to his arrest in the U.K. Amin was detained for 10 months by Pakistan's security services. The British government did nothing to help him while he was there, even though he is a British citizen, he said.
Police say that they found links between the Khyam terror cell and Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, who took part in the July 7 attacks. The jury was never told of the connections between the two terrorist cells to prevent prejudicing their deliberations, and news organizations were barred from reporting the links until the trial was over. The revelations have prompted renewed calls for an inquiry into the 7/7 bombings.
MI5 have responded by publishing an article on their website (see below) that claims to "provide an answer to the question: 'If the Security Service and Police had already come across two of the bombers before 2005, why did they not prevent the attacks in London on 7 July?'"And MI5 director Jonathan Evans has issued a personal statement.