LONDON (Reuters) - A British man was convicted on a terrorism-related charge on Friday but his Dutch wife walked free after the jury rejected evidence purporting to show she had urged him to become a “martyr” for Islam.
Yassin Nassari, 28, was found guilty of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, but cleared of a graver charge of possessing articles for terrorist purposes.
After a six-week trial at the Old Bailey, his Dutch wife Bouchra El-Hor, 24, was acquitted of failing to disclose information to police that she knew or believed could have prevented Nassari from committing a terrorist act.
The charges related to files on the hard drive of Nassari’s computer — including plans for building a missile — which were found when the couple were arrested at Luton airport in May 2006.
Pivotal to the case against El-Hor was a letter from her to Nassari in which she wrote she was proud of him and happy that Allah had granted him the chance to be a martyr in the cause of jihad, or holy war.
She told him that jihad was “compulsory” and she wished she could accompany him. But the two must “separate for the sake of Allah” and she would raise their young son to be a righteous Muslim and “follow in his father’s footsteps”.
Asked by her defence counsel if this meant she wanted her son to become a suicide bomber, El-Hor replied: “Of course not.” She told the jury the letter was a work of imagination, based on a story, and had never been meant for her husband to see.
Evidence discovered on Nassari’s computer included jihadist material and instructions on how to build rocket-propelled missiles of a type used by the Palestinian group Hamas, together with information on explosives such as land mines, TNT and nitro-glycerine.
Nassari told the court he had lent his computer to another man while in Syria, and was unaware of the files.
It was the fourth terrorism trial in just over a week to conclude in Britain, where security services say militant Islamists pose a continuous and growing threat.
The spate of cases coincides with investigations into three failed car bombings in London and Scotland late last month, which authorities suspect may be linked to al Qaeda.