In April, the terror trial of three defendants accused of aiding and abetting the attacks on 7 September collapsed due to insufficient evidence. July 2005 in London were accused
It was a mammoth trial: four years of work, thousands of pages of files, but the case against three defendants ended in April with an acquittal. They were accused of helping to plan the devastating attack in London that took place four years ago on 7. July cost 52 people their lives. Four suicide bombers had carried out attacks on subways and a double-decker bus during rush hour. A trial had already collapsed last year. Chief anchor Neil Flewitt ultimately had only circumstantial evidence. Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil were acquitted in the appeal trial.
After the failed trial, general questions arise about Scotland Yard’s investigative work. They proudly presented the evidence: the remains of a cell phone found in the middle of the Edgware Road trumpets. All around was in ruins, but forensic experts were even able to read connections in the SIM card. Abbreviations were stored in the telephone directory. The names "SHAXMOB" Officials attributed the case to Mohammed Shakil, "SADS" be Sadeer Saleem. Investigators reconstructed where the cell phones had been located. But they did not succeed in proving that it was in fact the defendants who carried and used these phones and not other, third persons. This gap in the chain of evidence ultimately led to their acquittal. This, however, allowed many trials around the world to fall through, or rather. had to be reopened.
- 90.000 calls checked
- 4.700 phone numbers investigated
- 13.000 pieces of evidence
- 7.000 forensically examined
- 18.450 statements obtained
- 19.400 documents created
They went down in history as backpack bombers. And again there was talk about so-called "sleepers. Because suicide bombers Shehzad Tanweer, Mohammed Iqbal, Mohammed Sidique Khan and Hasib Hussain came from well-respected families. They were immigrants from Pakistan who were considered fully integrated. In Leeds, in northern England, neighbors thought of them as the children of respectable burghers. And yet they boarded a train, went to London and blew themselves up. The population was unprepared, for weeks the topic dominated the media. Everyone wondered why?
They attended military training camps: the four terrorists and the defendants. In 2001 they were in Kashmir and Afghanistan: the dead Khan and the accused Ali. In 2004, they met with the deceased Tanweer and another accused Saleem in Pakistan and another unknown location. The defendants did not deny this. Rather, they convinced the court that their military training in those camps did not equate to terrorism. According to the New York Times, they had plausibly explained to judges and juries that while they supported jihad. But this did not mean that they had been part of the plot that brought death to London. However, Waheed Ali and Mohammed Shakil were sentenced to seven years in prison for planning to visit a Taliban training camp in Balochistan..
The purpose of video surveillance also had to be questioned again because of the court case. Although there are a lot of video cameras in the center of London, they did not prevent the attack. And the defendants could not be proven to have participated in the attacks. They were in London, but they had been visiting relatives. The opposite could not be proven to them.
Forensic experts had found evidence in their homes linking them to the place where the bombs were made. Why this chain of evidence did not hold up in court was not reported.
As early as three weeks after the attacks, even the investigators are said to have pointed out that it was necessary to prove to the accused that they were indeed the ones who called from the phones found at the bomb remains.
According to the Independent, U.S. intelligence sources at the time suspected a British man of Indian origin in Zambia as the real mastermind of the attack. He was reportedly under U.S. surveillance weeks before the attack. Three weeks after the attacks, British journalists were already struck by the differences between British and American security circles in their assessment of them. They cite U.S. intelligence that the Briton had traveled from London to Oregon in 1999 to check out a site for a possible terror camp there.
The Sunday Times wrote in 2005 that Khan, the assassin who died in the attack, had previously been investigated by Britain’s MI5 domestic intelligence service. However, they had concluded that the assistant teacher posed no threat. However, the same newspaper also quoted investigators as saying that they had warned: "Something pretty rough is coming up in short order. There is a crude network that must be broken up." The British radio station BBC5 reported at the time that at the same time as the attacks on the British subway, there had also been a bombing. Shortly after the attacks of 7. July bombings had occurred again in London, 6000 police officers were additionally ordered to London. There was a terrorist alert.
In this heated atmosphere, disaster struck. British policemen killed an innocent Brazilian man. He had the misfortune to walk out of a house that was being watched. There were contradictory reports at the time about what followed. Anyway, he was entering a subway when the officers shot him dead. There were worldwide diplomatic protests. Committees of inquiry criticized the work of the Metropolitan Police.
The result of the trial again raises questions about the investigative work. The defendants who were caught obtained an acquittal. Whether the actual masterminds were ever caught or at least observed was either not reported at all or at the most by newspapers in regions such as Zambia, Tanzania, etc., which are not so considered here. Immediately after the attacks, a British national from Ethiopia who had been arrested in Italy claimed that he had not wanted to kill anyone.
This raises the question, with a time lag between the attacks, of what actually became of the accused? What was reported, what was charged, and what could actually be proven to whom? What problems arose during the investigations? The technical possibilities are obviously in stark contrast to what remains and holds up at the end of a trial, and even this often becomes questionable on closer inspection. The British government has so far not authorized a public inquiry. Only recently again such was demanded by a former head of the anti-terror department of Scotland Yard.
Even after the catastrophic terrorist attacks in Madrid, officials secured remnants of mobile phones. The trail led to an Indian neighborhood in the capital, according to a parliamentary report by the Spanish Green Party. There the cell phones had been sold to people who claimed to be Bulgarians. Parliamentarians examined the investigation and found that those who used the phones included undercover agents from the Guardia Civil. But the attack, which cost the lives of so many people, was not prevented.