Pak-origin terror couple jailed in UK



London: In a case involving 'home-grown terrorists', a British husband and wife duo of Pakistani origin, who were plotting to carry out a terrorist attack in Manchester were on Friday sentenced to jail for nearly eight years each, the police said.

Hairdresser Shasta Khan, 38, and her husband Mohammed Sajid Khan, 34, were believed to have been in the early stages of building an improvised explosive device to target Jewish communities in Manchester.

Khan was born in Pakistan but was raised a British national from the age of 4, while Shasta Khan was born in the United Kingdom and her marriage to Khan was her third.

The two met on a Muslim dating website in July 2010 and married on August 10, 2010.

The police say that they were quickly radicalised and by November 2010 were listening to extremist al Qaeda material.

Changes in their demeanour and attire show that by July 2011 they had strict Islamic beliefs and radical views.

Shasta Khan, who was convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and two counts of possessing a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism following a trial, was jailed for eight years.

Mohammed Sajid Khan, who pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism, was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP), and must serve a minimum of seven and a half years before being considered eligible for parole.

Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony Mole, head of the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit said: "What we must acknowledge is the dangers posed by the relatively easy access to online publications which contain instructions on how to make viable explosive devices from everyday household items, and how this can create 'home-grown' terrorists".

"The Khans did not need to travel to training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan, the knowledge they needed to commit a terrorist act was available at the click of a few buttons from the confines of their own home. As the prosecution described it, this was 'jihad at home'," he added.

The police said that between March and July 2011, the couple began to access online bomb-making manuals and acquired everyday household items from supermarkets and high street retailers which could be used to construct a viable, and deadly, explosive device within the confines of their marital home, which also doubled as Shasta Khan's hairdressing salon.

The Greater Manchester Police believe that they were preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Britain, with the most likely target being the Jewish communities of Manchester.

Their plan was unravelled after police were initially called to reports of a domestic assault, but a family member intimated that possible terrorist acts were being committed and the counter-terrorism investigation was launched.

PTI