Terror suspect cleared by jury
A MAN who was arrested in Suffolk with an explosives manual in his shoebox was cleared of a terrorism charge yesterday.An Old Bailey jury found Frenchman Jacques Abi-Ayad, not guilty of having documents which were likely to be of use to a terrorist.
A MAN who was arrested in Suffolk with an explosives manual in his shoebox was cleared of a terrorism charge yesterday.
An Old Bailey jury found Frenchman Jacques Abi-Ayad, not guilty of having documents which were likely to be of use to a terrorist.
Abi-Ayad, of Gippeswyk Road in Ipswich, had downloaded the Anarchists Cookbook from the internet and copied some of the instructions.
The 40-year-old, who denied a charge under the Terrorism Act, told the court he was fantasising about making a firebomb to get revenge on a man in France he had clashed with - but had no intention of doing it.
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Abi-Ayad, who is of Algerian descent, had pleaded guilty to four forgery charges involving a fake passport, two driving licences and a French identity card.
Mr Justice Treacy jailed him for 18 months concurrently on each charge.
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The court was told that Abi-Ayad had been on the run in England after a man was stabbed in Metz, France.
He had been convicted in his absence in October 2002 of attempted murder and sentenced to life.
A warrant for extradition would be served on him and he would be returned to France to face new proceedings after serving his sentence.
The judge said Abi-Ayad would probably be released in January after serving half his sentence.
He was satisfied that the documents had been manufactured by Abi-Ayad in order for him to remain and work in Britain.
The judge said: "Your creation and possession of these items was not for terrorism purposes."
But he said there was increasing public concern, particularly in the light of increasing risk of terrorism.
Abi-Ayad was arrested in April after trying to use false documents to get a National Insurance number.
The explosives manual was found in a shoebox with forged documents.
The prosecution said it was up to the defence to show he had a "reasonable excuse'" for having the manual which gave details on how to make bombs.
Abi-Ayad said he had copied a section on making firebombs at a time when he felt angry at being convicted in France in his absence.
He added: "After I learned I was condemned for life, I was angry. It was some sort of an idea to take revenge because I was being blocked in England.
"Some people prefer a punchbag. I prefer to imagine how to deal with revenge on somebody. It was just for me."
Detective Sergeant Alan Slater, of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad, told the court that there was no evidence that Abi-Ayad had any links to terrorists.