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Terror accused held for 5 hours at airport


A student accused of terrorism offenses was stopped and searched at Glasgow Airport on his way to Pakistan just over a week before his arrest, a court was told yesterday. Mohammed Atif Siddique, 21, is on trial for 5 terror related charges, including distributing terrorist materials through websites and claiming to be a member of the al-Qaeda terror network.

Mr. Siddique, from Alva in Clackmannanshire, was stopped as he tried to board a Pakistan International Airways flight at 18:50 on April 5 2006. He was travelling with an uncle, Mohammed Rafik, and said he was on his way to visit relatives in Pakistan, where he would stay for 3 months.

At the High Court in Glasgow, special branch detective constable Gary Murray, who gave his evidence from behind screens, told how he had received orders to look out for the accused trying to pass through the airport.

Mr. Siddique and his uncle were taken to a special immigration area where they were searched. His luggage was taken off the plane and his suitcase, two holdalls and a laptop case were all inspected but nothing suspicious was found. His luggage contained 22 compact discs which he said contained Arabic poems. Det. Con. Murray said that he switched on the computer after being given the go-ahead by a more senior officer, and examined it over the course of 70 minutes.

Advocate Depute Brian McConnachie QC asked Det. Con. Murray: 'As far as you were concerned was there anything that was in any way relevant to the reason Mr. Siddique was stopped?' The officer responded: 'Not that I could see.'

Cross-examining, Donald Findlay QC asked if Mr. Siddique - who, along with his uncle, was released at 23:30, hours after their flight had taken off - had been cooperative. Det. Con. Murray confirmed he had. The defence counsel also pointed out that there was little security on the accused's laptop.

Mr. Siddique was arrested at his family home in a police operation just 8 days later, on April 13 2006, in a dawn raid. He is accused of possessing suspicious terrorism-related items including CDs and videos of weapons use, guerrilla tactics and bomb-making. He has also been accused of collecting terrorist-related information, setting up websites showing how to make and use weapons and explosives, and circulating inflammatory terrorist publications.

A further charge of breach of the peace relates to claims that he showed students at Glasgow Metropolitan College images of suicide bombers and terrorist beheadings. This charge also includes the allegation that he threatened to become a suicide bomber, and claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda.

The trial continues.

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