Two teenagers who were accused of discussing a plot to blow up British National Party members have been cleared of terror charges. Waris Ali, 18, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was found not guilty of three counts of possession of an article for a terrorist purpose. His school friend Dabeer Hussain, 18, was acquitted of one count of the same charge at Leeds Crown Court.
Friends and family of the two men hugged in the public gallery as the jury returned their verdicts after deliberating for two and a half hours.
During the trial, the court heard that the two men had discussed a plan to spy on and blow up members of the BNP. They were both accused of possessing a terrorist manual on their computers, called the Anarchists’ Cookbook, and researching bomb-making techniques from “recipes” on the internet.
Mr Hussain, of Clarkson Street, Dewsbury, said he had been sent a copy of the Anarchists’ Cookbook but had not read it and was not interested in politics. Speaking outside the court after the verdicts, Mr Ali said he was “extremely relieved” that he had been cleared of the charges but was angry about how he had been treated.
“I believe that if I was not from a Muslim background, I would not have been prosecuted,” he said. “I have had to live in fear of being branded a terrorist. I feel it was completely obvious once the police looked up the evidence that I had nothing to do with terrorism at all. Silly teenage chat and things I said at school were taken out of context and presented as if it was evidence that I was an extremist.”