A British man who allegedly distributed terrorist related materials online to a network of contacts in the United States, Europe and Canada, has been sentenced in London.
Aabid Hussain Khan, 23, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on August 19, 2008, for three counts of “possessing an article for a purpose connected with terrorism” and one count of “making a record of information likely to be useful in terrorism.” Khan, who allegedly circulated terrorism documents online, also encouraged some of his contacts to travel to Pakistan for training with terrorist groups Jaishe-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
Khan’s co-defendant and cousin, Sultan Muhammad, 23, was sentenced to ten years in prison on similar terrorism charges. Muhammad and Khan reportedly talked regularly about killing non-Muslims and buying acetone for bombs on the Internet auction site eBay. They also used Web sites and online chat rooms to actively recruit and radicalize others to follow a radical interpretation of Islam.
One of the people Khan recruited online was a third defendant, Hammaad Munshi, 18, who is the youngest Briton to be found guilty on terrorism charges. Munshi, sentenced to two years in prison in September 2008 for possessing or making documents promoting terrorism, reportedly met Khan on the Internet when he was 15-years-old. He was arrested a year after meeting Khan for using the Internet to circulate terrorism material on how to make napalm and homemade explosives. At the time of his arrest, authorities found two bags of ball-bearings – shrapnel used by suicide bombers – in his pocket.
Khan, whose online username was Ocean Blue, also helped radicalize a former Glascow student, Mohammed Atif Siddique. Khan communicated with Siddique online about their commitment to violent jihad, according to prosecutors. Siddique was sentenced to 8 years in prison in 2007 for possessing videos on bomb-making and weapons use.
British authorities arrested Khan in June 2006 at Manchester airport as he returned from Pakistan. Authorities reportedly found in his luggage detailed information about London’s Tower Bridge and Houses of Parliament, maps of the subway systems in London and America, and personal information about 15 Royal Family members in London, including the Queen. Authorities also found terrorist manuals on Khan’s laptop, including “The Mujahideen Explosives Handbook” and “The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook,” which provide instructions for manufacturing explosives and poisons.
In addition, computer files indicated that Khan was the administrator of At-Tibyan Publications, a Web site that posted translations of Al Qaeda recruitment materials. Khan also communicated with his contacts on several Web site message boards, including At-Tibyan, ClearGuidance (CG) and Islamic Network (IN).
At the time of Khan’s arrest, he was also in possession of videos of several locations in Washington, D.C., including the Capitol, the World Bank Headquarters, and a subway station. The videos were taken by two Atlanta men – Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee – who have been charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization.
Ahmed and Sadequee originally sent these videos to Younis Tsouli a.k.a. Irhabi007, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in London after pleading guilty to inciting people to commit murder through Web sites. Tsouli also worked with Khan on At-Tibyan Publications.
Both Ahmed and Sadequee reportedly were in contact with Khan via email and believed that he would be able to help them obtain “paramilitary training in Pakistan to prepare for violent jihad,” according to court documents. In 2005, Ahmed reportedly met Khan in Pakistan in an attempt to attend a terrorist training camp.
Khan was arrested several days after a group of men in Canada were arrested on terror related charges. Khan allegedly traveled to Toronto in March 2005 to meet several members of the Canadian group. During the meeting, which was also attended by the Atlanta men, they discussed several targets to attack, including military bases and oil storage facilities and refineries in the U.S.
Khan’s wife, who was born in Canada, is reportedly the sister-in-law of Fahim Ahmad, one of the leaders of the Toronto cell. Khan also reportedly helped one of the Toronto men, Jahmaal James, attend a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.
During the trial, Khan admitted that when he was 12 years-old he began reading online news stories about the suffering of Muslims overseas, which triggered his interest in terrorism.