Scotland's 'freed' terror-suspect claims being victim of racism

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Edinburgh (Scotland), Feb 11(ANI): Mohammed Atif Siddique, the man once branded Scotland's first Islamist terrorist, has claimed to have been a victim of racism.

Siddique was freed on Tuesday after serving four years of an eight-year terrorism sentence after his main conviction was quashed.

The 24-year-old said that he would never have been behind bars if he were a white Christian rather than a young Asian Muslim.

Siddique was jailed for "collecting terrorist-related information, setting up websites...and circulating inflammatory terrorist publications", resulting in a sentence of eight years' imprisonment.

His defense had been consistently claiming that he was just a curious 20-year old youth, still living with his parents, who was "looking for answers on the internet".

His conviction was quashed on appeal on January 29, 2010.

"I do regard myself as a victim of racism. Had a white person downloaded this stuff, there would have been no prosecution," The Scotsman quoted Siddique, as saying.

He had already declared that he was a "numpty" rather than a terrorist and said he had accessed the websites, some of which are still available, out of boredom and curiosity rather than malice.

Siddique said that he always expected to be convicted.

"I didn't think I was going to get not guilty. My trial came at a time when there was a lot of hostility - the Glasgow Airport attacks had just happened, my trial finished on the anniversary f 9/11," he said. (ANI)

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