Britain: A failed Muslim asylum-seeker stored files on his home computer on how to run a jihadist terrorist cell
Omar Altimimi, 37, a married father of three living in suburban Bolton, possessed material on a variety of terrorist activities including a number of “chilling” videos glorifying terrorism and the killing of hostages or those seen as enemies of insurgent factions in Iraq.
The material included a number of references to Al Ghurabaa, a UK-based group that was banned last July under new legislation outlawing organisations that support terrorism.
Mr Altimimi, unemployed, had at least three identities, two homes and was an associate of terrorists abroad when he was arrested last year for his role in an alleged £27,400 money-laundering operation, the court was told.
He had applied for jobs as a primary school teaching assistant and as a cleaning supervisor for Greater Manchester Police but, the prosecution said, this was merely an attempt to “blend into the community”. Tim Barnes, QC, for the prosecution, told the jury: “The contents of his computer give the lie to the suggestion of a law-abiding citizen anxious to take up a responsible teaching position within the community.”
Mr Altimimi, thickset with black hair and spectacles, listened to the evidence with the aid of an interpreter. He denies six charges of possessing material for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terror. He also denies acquisition of criminal property and the attempted possession of criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The trial, which is expected to last at least five weeks, is the first terror trial to be held outside London since the 9/11 attacks.
Judge George Maddison, the Recorder of Manchester, told the jury that Mr Altimimi faced a number of charges involving the possession of articles connected with terrorism.
He said: “These articles were documents stored on two computers, and the two computers were found in two different addresses . . . the prosecution say these two addresses are down to the defendant, Mr Altimimi, and he was in possession of the various documents stored on the computers.
“It may well be the only issue is whether or not Mr Altimim was in possession of the computers. His case is that the documents had nothing to do with him, he did not know they were on the computer and other people had access to them.”
Mr Altimimi was arrested in March last year after he walked into the Nationwide Building Society office in Bolton and attempted to withdraw £3,000, part of a larger sum allegedly fraudulently transferred from the Yemeni Tourist Board.
In the sole of one of his shoes police found an Immigration and Nationality Directorate card issued by the Home Office bearing his photograph but under the name of Abou Hawas, and a Halifax debit card in the name of A. H. M. Abdullah.
Mr Barnes said: “Which of these three names, Altimimi, Abdullah or Abou Hawas, is the true name of this defendant or whether any of them are, may be difficult to establish.”
It emerged that Mr Altimimi had failed to secure asylum in this country under the guise of Abou Hawas. A second man, Yousuf Abdullah, 30, also of Bolton, whose real name is Nashwan Gassar, has already pleaded guilty to one charge of the acquisition of criminal property.
Suspect 'had terror tips on PC'
Terror suspect 'had manual for washing powder bomb'