Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Terror suspect 'had personal details about British soldier'

By Sean O’Neill
Times of London

A YOUNG Muslim with alleged “extremist leanings” appeared in court yesterday charged with possessing the personal details and home address of a decorated British soldier for a terrorist purpose.

Mohammed Abu Baker Mansha, 21, was arrested last Thursday in a 4am raid on a near-derelict flat on a housing estate in Thamesmead, southeast London.

He was charged under the Terrorism Act on Monday and brought before Bow Street magistrates.

The court was told that police search teams found a range of outdoor equipment, some with possible military uses, and correspondence relating to “missions” overseas.

Mr Mansha, who is bearded and has close-cropped dark hair, was dressed in jeans and a blue-and-white checked shirt with cufflinks.

As he stood in the dock, flanked by two prison officers, he turned to acknowledge a relative in the gallery. Patrick Stevens, for the prosecution, applied for Mr Mansha to be remanded in custody pending further inquiries. He said that the search of the flat had recovered a large amount of material that warranted further examination.

Officers had found military binoculars, full-face balaclavas with eyeholes cut out, a radio scanner and a respirator, four sleeping bags, four pairs of gloves and four pairs of Wellington boots in different sizes.

There were Ordnance Survey maps of the Snowdonia region and route planners for the area.

Mr Stevens said that correspondence found in the flat “appeared to suggest his involvement in what are described as missions abroad”.

He added: “There was also a quantity of material appearing to indicate that extremist leanings can be attributed to Mr Mansha.”

Police had “grave concerns” about the discovery of a cutting from a national newspaper referring to a decorated soldier. The soldier’s details were circled and on a separate piece of paper his home address and personal details had been written out.

Mr Stevens said that he was seeking a custodial remand because the Crown believed that there was a risk that further offences might be committed and that Mr Mansha might fail to appear in court.

He said that Mr Mansha, who was born in Whitechapel, East London, possessed British and Pakistani passports.

No bail application was made and District Judge Daphne Wickham remanded Mr Mansha to appear before the court next week.

Speaking outside court, Sara O’Keeffe, Mr Mansha’s solicitor, said that he strenuously denied all the allegations against him.

She added: “He intends to fight this all the way.”
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