Second man carried “terrorist’s contact book’ written in invisible ink
A British Muslim described by police as an al-Qaeda mastermind who considered mass murder to be part of his duty became the first person to be convicted of the charge of directing terrorism yesterday.
Rangzieb Ahmed, 33, was part of a three-man cell on an unknown terrorist operation in Dubai and Saudi Arabia in December 2005 that was aborted. He was regarded as so important that a second man, Habib Ahmed, 28, was recruited to carry on his behalf incriminating documents in invisible ink that amounted to a “terrorist’s contacts book”. Among the names and numbers in the three books was that of Hamza Rabia, No 3 in al-Qaeda’s chain of command.
Rangzieb Ahmed, of Rochdale, was convicted at Manchester Crown Court of directing terrorism – an offence introduced by the Terrorism Act 2000 – after an 11-week trial.
Habib Ahmed, a Manchester taxi driver who is unrelated to Rangzieb Ahmed, was found guilty of being an al-Qaeda member but cleared of attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan in 2006. Mehreen Haji, 28, Habib Ahmed’s wife, was cleared of arranging funding for terrorism.
Senior officers of Greater Manchester Police’s counter-terrorism unit claim that their three-year investigation into the terrorist cell was instrumental in disrupting and destabilising the senior levels of al-Qaeda.
The two men are due to be sentenced today.
After the hearing Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter, of GMP’s counter-terrorism unit, said: “Rangzieb Ahmed consorts with senior terrorist figures and has devoted his life to creating and working with terrorist networks. We believe he was intent on masterminding terrorist attacks and would have considered mass murder part of his duty.”
“Rangzieb Ahmed is a very dangerous man,” Manchester police said in a statement following the verdicts.
“He consorts with senior terrorist figures and has devoted his life to creating and working with terrorist networks. We believe that he was intent on masterminding terrorist attacks and would have considered mass murder part of his duty.”
Prosecutors presented evidence showing Rangzieb Ahmed had close contact with senior members of al Qaeda, including Hamza Rabia, a man suspected of having been a deputy to bin Laden.