COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Two men who were secretly filmed mixing the type of explosive used in the 2005 London transit bombing were convicted on Tuesday of preparing a terrorist attack.
Hammad Khuershid, a Danish citizen of Pakistani origin, and Abdoulghani Tokhi, an Afghan, were sentenced to 12 and seven years in prison, respectively.
They were arrested in an anti-terror sweep last year after Danish agents filmed them conducting a small test blast with triacetone triperoxide, which was used by the suicide bombers who killed 52 British commuters.
During the trial, prosecutors said Khuershid had links to an al-Qaida operative. The prosecutors said it was not clear whether Khuershid and Tokhi were preparing an attack in Denmark or abroad. Denmark has repeatedly been threatened by Islamic extremists after the uproar triggered by cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were first published in Danish newspapers in 2005.
Investigators found handwritten bomb-making manuals in the men's homes that prosecutors said Khuershid had copied at the pro-Taliban Red Mosque in Islamabad.
They said he also had spent time in the Pakistani region of Waziristan, a militant stronghold near the Afghan border. Khuershid has admitted he was in Waziristan, but denies receiving any military training.
Khuershid and Tokhi had pleaded innocent and said the explosive was to be used for fireworks. They sat motionless as the City Court in Glostrup, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, handed down the guilty verdict.
The court said during sentencing that Tokhi, who has a Danish residence permit, would be expelled after serving his sentence.
Defense lawyers for both suspects said they would appeal the ruling.
The pair could face life in prison, although such sentences are generally reduced to 16 years under Danish law. No date was immediately set for sentencing.
Denmark's PET security police put the men under surveillance after receiving a tip from a foreign intelligence agency. PET agents monitored their phone and computer communication and installed video cameras in Khuershid's home.
One surveillance video, played in court, showed the men mixing and testing a very small amount of triacetone triperoxide, or TATP.
They were arrested in the Copenhagen area in September 2007. Denmark's intelligence service said at the time that the suspects were Islamic militants with direct links to leading al-Qaida figures.
Danish police say they have thwarted a series of terrorist attacks in recent years.
In November 2007, a Palestinian immigrant, an Iraqi Kurd and a Danish convert to Islam were found guilty of plotting a bomb attack on an unidentified target and sentenced up to 11 years in prison. In February, 2007, a Danish court convicted a 17-year-old man of involvement in a terror plot uncovered in Bosnia in October 2005.
A suicide bombing at the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killed six people in June. A statement attributed to al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack.