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Muslim man in UK jailed for rocket making instructions found in luggage returning from Syria trip with wife and baby

July 17, 2007

Man jailed over instructions for making rocket,,2128521,00.html

Mark Oliver and agencies
Tuesday July 17, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

A man whose luggage contained electronic blueprints that could have been used to make a viable explosive rocket was jailed today for three and a half years.

An external computer hard drive containing the plans was found in the luggage of Yassin Nassari, 28, of Ealing, west London, at Luton airport in May last year.

The prosecution had alleged during a six-week trial at the Old Bailey that Nassari was a radicalised Muslim bent on waging violent jihad. The jury, however, cleared him of a charge of having articles for terror.

Today Judge Gerald Gordon said there was no evidence to show the material would be used for terror. It was, however, an offence to possess such plans about explosives and "the sooner that is understood the better", the judge said.

Nassari and his Dutch wife, Bouchra El Hor, 24, who was cleared of failing to disclose information on terror, were stopped at the airport as they returned to the UK after a long trip to Syria and a shorter visit to Holland. They were travelling with their five-month-old baby.

Police looked at several items in Nassari's luggage, including the external hard drive. It contained dozens of files including documents about "martyrdom", weapons training and how to construct the Qassam artillery rocket, a home made steel weapon used by terrorists in the Middle East.

Nassari had claimed he knew nothing about the missile plans, and said he had loaned the computer to a friend who was now facing a terror charge.

Officers searched his home and found computer equipment, CDs and DVDs which included violent footage of terrorist attacks and beheadings. There were documents entitled "Preparing the Fighter Who Is Going For Jihad" and "Islamic Ruling on Permissibility of Self-Sacrificial Operation".

Nassari was subsequently arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Detectives later discovered that he had left the UK in April 2005 and travelled to Syria, where he taught English. He downloaded the material about the explosives to the external hard drive in April 2006, just before he left Syria for Amsterdam. He then returned to the UK via Luton airport.

Scotland Yard also discovered that Nassari had communicated with extremists via internet chat-rooms. With the user name "Mock Turtle" he exchanged views with other users, including one known as "Abu Dujanah". Dujanah was in fact Tariq al-Daour - who was jailed last month along with two other men for incitement to murder using the internet.

After Nassari's sentencing today, the head of the Metropolitan police's counter terrorism command and deputy assistant commissioner, Peter Clarke, said: "Nassari held the ideology, ability and determination to find and download material which would have been useful to terrorists.

"...what he intended to do upon his return to the UK is unclear. However, it is possible that his research could have ended up in the hands of individuals or groups willing to put it into practice."

Special report
Terrorism threat to UK

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