LONDON — A court sentenced five students to jail yesterday for collecting information on bomb making and terrorism. The five were convicted Tuesday of possessing articles for terrorist purposes, the Crown Prosecution Service said. Police who searched the men's computers found an American military guide giving instructions on how to make explosive devices and a suicide bombing manual downloaded from the Internet, as well as chat room conversations that encouraged terrorism or martyrdom. The men denied the charges and insisted they were simply researching Islam.
"This was not just a case of adolescent fantasy or young men messing around and talking big to impress their friends," the head of the prosecution service's counterterrorism division, Susan Hemming, said.
"These students collected a large quantity of extremist information on their computers, information which was designed to encourage themselves or others to take the path of martyrdom and violence towards innocent people," Ms. Hemming said.
Mohammed Irfan Raja, 19, of Ilford, was sentenced to two years in youth detention. Awaab Iqbal, 20, of Bradford, and Aitzaz Zafar, 20, of Rochdale, were sentenced to two years in prison. Usman Ahmed Malik, 21, of Bradford, was sentenced to three years, and Akbar Butt, 20, was sentenced to 27 months.