UK

Three men on trial are 'known terrorists'

Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain, Mohibur Rahman and Tahir Aziz Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain and Mohibur Rahman pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in 2012

Three men accused of plotting a terror attack with a meat cleaver and a pipe bomb have previous terrorism convictions, a court has heard.

Naweed Ali, Khobaib Hussain and Mohibur Rahman pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in 2012.

They and a fourth man, Tahir Aziz, deny preparing for acts of terrorism between 25 May and 27 August 2016.

The judge warned the Old Bailey jury not to let last Wednesday's Westminster terror attack influence their decision.

Naweed Ali, 29, Khobaib Hussain, 25, both of Birmingham, Mohibur Rahman, 32 and Tahir Aziz, 38, both of Stoke-on-Trent were arrested last August in the West Midlands.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption The four men appeared in court accused of preparing for acts of terrorism between 25 May and 27 August 2016

Police seized a meat cleaver, a long sword and a partly-built pipe bomb.

The Arabic word for "infidel" was scratched onto the blade of the cleaver.

The court heard how in 2012, Mr Ali and Mr Hussain had travelled to Pakistan intending to train for terrorism and Mr Rahman had admitted possessing copies of a terrorist article.

Undercover officers

In both of the cases the men had been under surveillance.

Mr Justice Globe said "no one is suggesting that these defendants on trial before you are in any way connected to any of the events of last Wednesday or the person responsible or to any of his associates."

The men were arrested as part of an operation involving the security services and undercover police officers.

The court heard that on 26 August 2016, Mr Ali arrived for his first shift at a company called Heroes Couriers in Birmingham, not knowing that his new boss Vincent was actually an undercover police officer.

Mr Hussain had already started working for Vincent a few week earlier.

Computer searches

When Mr Ali went out on a delivery, officers searched the Seat Leon in which he had arrived for work and found the partly constructed pipe bomb and machete.

He said the weapons were nothing to do with him and denied conversations with his co-accused were about planning an attack.

Mr Aziz's Ford Fiesta was also searched on the same day and a Samurai sword was found by the driver's seat, the jury heard.

Police examined the defendants' phones and computers allegedly revealed they held extremist views.

They found Mr Rahman had made computer searches for "liquid bomb plot" and Mr Aziz's phone contained partly deleted files with instructions on how to make home-made poisons and bombs.

Gareth Patterson, prosecuting, told jurors the evidence showed that the planned attack in the UK was "imminent".

He told the court it was not necessary to identify which people were to be attacked or when or where it was to happen, "although clearly it would be in the UK".

During the trial, members of the press and public were sent out for 20 minutes so jurors could hear secret evidence from two unnamed prosecution witnesses.

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