The Guardian Unlimited
A 23-year-old former Heathrow shop assistant who called herself the "lyrical terrorist" and scrawled her extremist thoughts on till receipts has been handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence.
Samina Malik became the first woman convicted under new terrorism legislation after writing poems entitled How To Behead and The Living Martyrs.
Malik, described as an "unlikely but committed" Islamic extremist, was last month convicted by an jury at the Old Bailey of a charge under the 2000 Terrorism Act.
She worked at WH Smith at Heathrow, where she scribbled her extremist lyrics on till receipts. On one she wrote: "The desire within me increases every day to go for martyrdom."
But Malik told the jury she only adopted her "lyrical terrorist" nickname because she thought it was "cool" and insisted: "I am not a terrorist."
Malik had tears in her eyes as she left the dock, while her mother wept during the court hearing. The judge said Malik's crime was on the "margins" of the offence of which she was found guilty. He said Malik was of "good character" and from a "supportive and law-abiding family who are appalled by the trouble that you are in".
"The Terrorism Act and the restrictions it imposes on the personal freedom exist to protect this country, its interests here and abroad, its citizens, and those who visit here. Its protection embraces us all. Its restrictions apply to us all, whatever our personal religious or political beliefs."
He told Malik that if she had been convicted of the more serious charge of possessing an article for terrorist purposes - of which the jury cleared her - she would have faced a jail term. But he said, while a custodial sentence was merited, she had already faced "extremely rigorous" bail conditions which were "tantamount to house arrest".
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