The convictions of five young Muslim men jailed over extremist literature have been quashed by the Appeal Court. Freeing the men, the Lord Chief Justice said their convictions for downloading extremist propaganda were unsafe as there was no proof of terrorist intent. A jury convicted the students in 2007 after hearing the men, of Bradford and Ilford, east London, became obsessed with jihadi websites and literature. The lawyer for one said they had been jailed for a “thought crime”. In one of the first trials of its kind, Irfan Raja, Awaab Iqbal, Aitzaz Zafar, Usman Malik and Akbar Butt were jailed by an Old Bailey judge for downloading and sharing extremist terrorism-related material. The men all received sentences of between two and three years. But at the Court of Appeal, Lord Phillips said the men had clearly downloaded extremist material but he doubted if there was evidence to support the prosecution’s case that this was in relation to planning terrorist acts.

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