Ilford man accused of holy war ‘framed by MI5’
A Tube driver accused of plotting holy war in Afghanistan claimed he was framed by the British security services after he refused to become an MI5 mole.
Bakerloo line driver Amir Ali, 28, of Hampton Road, Ilford, allegedly bought survival equipment, booked a flight to Pakistan and begged his wife’s forgiveness in a farewell letter.
Police are said to have found photos of Ali brandishing AK47 assault rifles and extremist material at his home including rantings by jailed Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal.
But dad of two Ali said he was approached by the security services at Heathrow airport in June 2007 prior to boarding a flight to Pakistan with his wheelchair-bound grandmother, taken to a room and questioned.
“They said they were going to stop me from going to Pakistan,” Ali told the jury.
Ali’s grandmother was wheeled on to the aeroplane which was delayed while officers continued to grill him, the court heard.
“They [the officers] said: ‘This doesn’t have to happen if you work for us’,” said Ali.
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“They wanted me to keep an eye on Muslims in my community and my mosque.
“I told them that if I knew anything I would have told them anyway.”
Ali said he was eventually released and allowed to travel.
Ali – who said he earned �41,000 a year as a Tube driver with eight weeks’ paid holiday per annum – travelled again to Pakistan the following year, jurors were told.
The court heard MI5 turned their attention to Ali’s mother and his wife in Britain while he was overseas.
“My mum was ringing me up and she was like questioning me more, asking me what was going on,’ said Ali.
“Did you find out why she was suspicious?’ asked his barrister Lawrence McNulty.
“She said that the security services called her up and said I was there for terrorism,’ said Ali.
Ali said his wife also received calls which led to him suffering stress and irritable bowel syndrome on his return to the UK.
Mr McNulty had earlier told the jury: “In 2007, somewhere in the security services, it was decided that they wanted to recruit Mr Ali as an informer in respect of terrorist activities.
“His response was: ‘I don’t know anything – I can’t help you’.”
Ali said letters from other terror suspects on which police allegedly found his fingerprints were handed to him by a friend.
But Ali said he refused his friend’s request to deliver them, adding: “I didn’t want anything to do with this.
“I had my doubts about these letters so I said I didn’t want anything to do with it.”
Ali denies preparation for acts of terrorism between April 13 2006 and March 25 last year.
The trial continues.