Airliner bomb trial: Three Muslim extremists face lengthy jail terms over plot
Three Islamic extremists are facing lengthy prison sentences after being found guilty of conspiring to kill hundreds of people in a terrorist bombing campaign.
The trio were members of an east London al Qaida-inspired terror cell that planned to detonate home-made bombs in attacks on British targets including Heathrow Airport, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court found.
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But following a five-month trial the jurors failed to reach verdicts on prosecution claims that they were plotting an unprecedented wave of suicide bombings on transatlantic airliners.
The three – Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Assad Sarwar, 28, and Tanvir Hussain, 27 – had already admitted planning a series of small-scale headline-grabbing bomb attacks.
But, by a majority of 10 to two, the jurors rejected their claims that they did not plan to kill or hurt anyone in the blasts.
The eight men and four women on the jury deliberated for 56 hours and nine minutes.
But they could not agree verdicts on whether another four Muslim men – Ibrahim Savant, 27, Arafat Waheed Khan, 27, Waheed Zaman, 24, and Umar Islam, 30 – were also involved in the conspiracy to murder.
All seven defendants earlier admitted conspiring to cause a public nuisance by distributing al Qaida-style videos threatening suicide attacks in Britain.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has until the end of this month to decide whether the men should face retrials on the counts on which the jurors could not reach verdicts.
An eighth man, Mohammed Gulzar, 27, was cleared on all charges.
The trial judge, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith, adjourned the case for sentencing at a later date.
The jury found that Ali, Sarwar and Hussain intended to murder people using an ingenious form of hydrogen peroxide liquid bomb disguised as a soft drink.
Prosecutors said his gang considered national infrastructure targets including gas terminals and oil refineries.
Evidence revealed that Canary Wharf, the Bacton gas terminal pipeline, various airports, the electricity grid and internet providers were studied.
Documents also referred to Coryton Oil Refinery, in south Essex, and Fawley Oil Refinery, in Hampshire, and Kingsbury Oil Refinery in Warwickshire.
Airliner bomb trial: ‘Suicide’ videos promised body parts on the streets
In what the prosecution claimed were six “suicide videos” lasting a total of more than an hour, the defendants threatened to scatter “body parts” on the streets in revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The videos appeared to be choreographed by Abdulla Ahmed Ali, who called himself the leader of “this blessed operation”.
During a 16-minute rant, Ali pointed his finger and mopped his brow as he made his point.
He accused his targets of caring more about fox hunting than Muslims and added: “I don’t consider anybody innocent who supports the slaughter of my people. What have you done to stop this oppression?
“You have shown more concern for animals than for the Muslim ummah [world]. When foxes are being killed you hold massive demonstrations.
“Any sensible person knows we are not targeting innocent people. We have made it absolutely clear to stay away from military, economic and government targets. If you do this you will be safe.”
Ali accused western leaders of paedophilia, pornography and fornication and said he was “fed up with living in a kuffar [heathen] land”.
“I’m no one’s slave, I’m a free man,” he added. “Those that know me know that I was over the moon that Allah has given me this opportunity to lead this blessed operation.”
He said he had wanted to seek martyrdom since the age of 15 or 16 and said his aim was the “big rewards that Allah has promised those who step on his path and inshaallah [god willing] become martyr and the best of amongst those to me is the guarantee of jannah [paradise] for myself and my family and those that are close to me.
“On top of this is to punish and to humiliate the kuffar [non-believers], to teach them a lesson that they will never forget.”
In his 18-minute video, Umar Islam, said he was on a mission of “revenge for the actions of the USA in the Muslim lands and their accomplices such as the British and the Jews”
Dressed in a black and white checked head scarf and sitting in front of a black banner with the words “There is no god but Allah” written in Arabic he told his audience: “There are many more like us ready to strike until the law of Allah is established on this earth.”
Islam, a convert of Jamaican origin whose real name is Brian Young, appeared to be reading from a pre-prepared script as he proclaimed: “Martyrdom operations upon martyrdom operations will keep on raining on these Kuffar until they release you and leave our lands.”
Off-screen Ali said non-believers would accuse them off being “brainwashed youths who are fed up with life and who are oppressed and angry and following a backward version of Islam.”
Islam replied: “I would say that yes my brain has been washed in the clean and cleansing waters of Islam and the Koran and the Sunnah [the path of the Prophet].
“You call us terrorists but you can see we don’t mind that because we will keep on terrorising you until you learn your lesson.”
Ali asked Islam what he would say to non-believers who accused them of being “barbarians” killing “so-called innocent people” and Islam said he did not consider anyone innocent who paid taxes for an army “pillaging the Muslim lands.”