LONDON, (Reuters) – A British jury convicted a man on Friday of aiding fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan as an accomplice to a man who admitted plotting to kidnap and behead a Muslim soldier from the British army.
The beheading plot caused a security alert in Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham. Ringleader Parviz Khan, 37, admitted the plot at the beginning of the trial last month and three other men admitted other terrorism offences.
A jury on Friday found a fifth member of the group, Zahoor Iqbal, guilty of helping terrorists abroad. He was not charged with a role in the beheading plot, but was accused of working with Khan to supply equipment to fighters on the Pakistan-Afghan border battling Western troops.
The men were “actively assisting terrorists who were trying to kill our soldiers, as well as those of our allies the United States and Canada”, prosecutor Nigel Rumfitt said at the trial’s opening. He said the shipments included sophisticated electronic and other equipment like computer hard drives, range finders, night vision gear and surveillance detectors. Some of the material was sent out under the guise of earthquake relief to Pakistan.
The prosecution said Iqbal helped Khan source the equipment from retailers in central England.
On one trip they visited a golf shop to look at a gadget golfers use to tell them how far they are from the hole. “It can also be used to tell you how far the head of a British soldier is from the end of your rifle,” Rumfitt said. The jury cleared another defendant, Amjab Mahmood, of aiding terrorists but did not reach a verdict on a charge that he failed to report the beheading plot to police.
Khan has admitted that he plotted to have drug dealers lure a British Muslim soldier from a nightclub, bundle him into a car and behead him in a garage.
The jury retired to continue deliberating its verdict in the remaining charge against Mahmood.