A 23-year-old former Heathrow airport worker who stored military manuals and wrote poems celebrating the beheading of non-believers avoided prison yesterday. Samina Malik, who called herself the “lyrical terrorist”, was the first woman convicted under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 of possessing records likely to be useful in terrorism.
At the Old Bailey yesterday, Judge Peter Beaumont, the recorder of London, sentenced her to nine months’ prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered her to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. “In my judgment your offence is on the margin of what this crime concerns,” he told Malik. He said she was of previously good character and from a “supportive and law-abiding family who are appalled by the trouble that you are in”.
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, welcomed the decision to suspend the sentence. “Samina Malik was being prosecuted in effect for a thought crime because she had downloaded some material from the internet which anyone could download.”