Terrorist jailed over failed July 21 bomb plot

A British terrorist who helped plot the failed suicide bomb attacks on July 21 has been sentenced to nearly seven years in jail. Adel Yahya, 24, a student from Tottenham, North London, admitted collecting information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. The charge related to hydrogen peroxide, the main ingredient used in the home-made bombs. Duncan Gardham reports

Verdicts in Madrid train bombing trial on Oct 31

The Spanish anti-terrorist court announced the date of October 31st to hand down verdicts on the 28 suspects on trial for the 2004 Madrid train bombings. The blasts of the terrorist attack, which were claimed in the name of Al-Qaeda, killed 191 people and injured 1,841 others. The top suspects face a sentence of up to 40,000 years each; although under Spanish law, the longest jail term one can serve for terrorist crimes is only 40 years.

Student’s call to murder ‘the infidel’ faces jail

An accountancy student accused of calling on Muslims in Merseyside to kill non-believers denied soliciting to murder, it was reported this week. Malcolm Hodges, 43, allegedly sent letters to mosques and Islamic groups across the country on November 3 last year. Faxed to organisations including the Liverpool Muslim Society, the documents are said to have encouraged the recipients to murder “the infidel”. The accused was arrested by Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism officers in April this year.http://themuslimweekly.com/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=F57CA56EE76D4431A26340EC&MENUID=INTNEWS&DESCRIPTION=International%20News

Samir A. convicted again for terrorism

THE HAGUE (AFP) – A Dutch Muslim radical was sentenced to four years in jail by an Amsterdam appeals court on Monday for planning a terrorist attack in 2004. Samir Azzouz had already been acquitted on the same charges twice by a lower court and an appeals court which said his plans were “so clumsy and primitive” that they were not a threat. But the case was referred for re-trial by the Dutch supreme court earlier this year, and the Amsterdam appeals court ruled Monday that the Azzouz was indeed planning an attack. Police found floor plans of government buildings, chemicals and night vision goggles and a silencer for a gun at his home.

Scottish student convicted on terror charges

A 21-year-old student was convicted today of possessing CDs and computer material linked to Islamist terrorism, along with threatening to become a suicide bomber and other offences. He faces a potential jail sentence of up to 15 years, the trial judge has warned. Following the verdict, police said Mohammed Atif Siddique, from Alva, Clackmannanshire near Stirling in central Scotland, had been found guilty of “serious terrorism offences” that posed a genuine threat. Siddique’s lawyer said he would appeal, arguing the student’s actions amounted to nothing worse than “what millions of young people do every day – looking for answers on the internet”.

Islam in Prison

Ramadan starts on September 13th this year, devout Muslims respect the daily fast during this period, others have a less tight practice. Notwithstanding the practice, this particular time is an occasion to think about the place that religion, and this religion in particular has taken in prison. Religion has long played, and still does, an important role in jail.

U.S. Entry Increasingly Being Denied

A Zimbabwe woman who arrived in San Francisco traveling on a student visa was barred from entering the United States. A Jordanian national with a valid passport and visa was denied entry in Chicago. And four University of Florida students who had gone home to China for Christmas were barred from returning for months. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, foreign visitors who may once have easily entered the United States are facing increased scrutiny at land borders, airports and seaports. Every year, more than 300,000 noncitizens are denied entry for reasons ranging from improper or fraudulent travel documents to suspected terrorist ties. Last week, Safana Jawad, an Iraqi-born Spanish citizen, said she was denied entry at Tampa International Airport because federal agents believed she was connected to someone they view as suspicious. Her case isn’t unusual. About 500 noncitizens last year were denied entry because of terrorism or national security concerns, said Kelly Klundt, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington, D.C. “Ninety-nine percent of the traveling public is absolutely legitimate,” she said. “However, we will not denigrate our antiterrorism mission in any way in order to achieve being a welcoming nation.” Klundt’s agency was formed in 2003 under the Department of Homeland Security to oversee all immigration, customs and agriculture border inspections and enforcement. The following year, its agents denied entry to more than 450,000 noncitizens. The stricter border enforcement may be needed, but it also has led to an increase in fear among visitors to the United States, said Philip Hwang, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “The danger is that there is a mind-set among some federal officers which allows immigrants to be seen as the enemy, and fails to recognize their value and contribution to this country,” he said. His San Francisco firm specializes in cases of abuse by federal immigration and border officials. Recently, Hwang represented Tsungai Tungwarara, a Zimbabwe woman who was denied entry at San Francisco International Airport in 2002. Tungwarara was traveling on a valid student visa and federal agents suspected she planned to stay in the United States to attend school. Hwang said she already had enrolled at a school overseas. Tungwarara was detained at the Oakland County jail and strip-searched. Last October, a federal district court ruled the strip search was unconstitutional. And last week, the U.S. government settled the lawsuit for $65,000, Hwang said. The settlement was filed April 12 at the federal courthouse in San Francisco, the same day Jawad, 45, sat in a maximum-security cell of the Pinellas County jail. She arrived at Tampa International Airport to visit her son, who lives in Clearwater with her ex-husband, Ahmad Maki Kubba, 49. After being denied entry, Jawad was taken to the jail, booked as a felon and strip-searched. “It’s shocking because Jawad’s case is strikingly similar to the one we just settled,” Hwang said. “You’d think Homeland Security would get its act together. But it’s a problem that’s not going away.” Jawad is now visiting family members in London before returning home to Spain. Homeland Security has launched its own investigation of Jawad’s treatment at the jail while in federal custody. “I love America, but this was wrong,” Kubba said. “She is innocent until proven guilty, but they dealt with her as a criminal.” Along with suspicions of terrorist ties, visitors may be denied entry for a variety of reasons, including lying about their planned visit and the possession of smuggled merchandise or fraudulent travel documents. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the increased scrutiny has netted some big fish, including a suicide bomber. In 2003, Ra’ed Mansour al-Banna, a Jordanian national with a genuine passport and valid visa, was denied entry at Chicago O’Hare International Airport because he presented “terrorist risk factors” during questioning, Klundt said. She wouldn’t elaborate. Al-Banna, 30, was detained overnight and sent home. In 2005, he was identified as the suicide bomber who drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into a Shiite city that February, killing 132 Iraqis. Fingerprints from his severed hand, found chained to the steering wheel, were matched with those taken by federal agents at the airport. “I’m not saying everyone we deny entry to is like al-Banna. But when we’re denying people on terrorism grounds, there’s reason for it,” Klundt said. “Our primary mission is antiterrorism. But will we deny entry because of incorrect paperwork? Absolutely.” Several Florida university officials say the stricter enforcement since Sept.11 has translated into a perception of the United States as an unwelcoming nation. The view has led to a significant drop in applicants to the University of Florida, said Debra Anderson, the international student coordinator. The four Chinese students barred entry in 2004 were eventually allowed back after additional security checks. The fear of not being able to return to school continues to worry students at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. “The students are very afraid to go home during their breaks because they are afraid of having problems coming back,” said Lisa Kahn, director of International Affairs at USF. Problems may arise even before students or professors reach a U.S. port of entry. In February, a prominent Indian scientist who was offered a visiting professorship at UF was denied a visa at a U.S. consulate in Madras, said Dennis Jett, dean of the International Center. Goverdhan Mehta said he was accused of potential links to chemical weapons production. Mehta refused to come even after U.S. officials granted him a visa two weeks later. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal court to lift a visa ban on another professor, Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss scholar who had accepted a position at Notre Dame. His visa was revoked under a provision that allows the exclusion of foreigners who endorse terrorism, said Paul Silva, an ACLU spokesman. But Silva said Ramadan has publicly condemned terrorism, and is being barred because the Muslim scholar is a vocal critic of American policy in the Middle East. Ahme d Bedier, director of the Council on American-Muslim Relations in Tampa, said Muslims like Jawad still often feel singled out by federal authorities, though reports of racial profiling at airports have dropped significantly since Sept. 11. In 2004, of the 1,522 “anti-Muslim incidents” reported to the council, nearly 6 percent, or 88 incidents, occurred at airports, he said. The reported cases represent less than 20 percent of the total number nationwide, he said. Bedier, however, believes most incidents go unreported because many people lack the sophistication of Jawad’s family. “It was beneficial that she was educated enough that she demanded to speak to lawyers and the Spanish embassy. Not everybody reacts in real time like that,” Bedier said. “When you’re in a state of shock, you’re afraid, you’re being interrogated, you can forget your rights.”