A British judge on Monday sentenced the ringleader of a plot to bring down trans-Atlantic planes with liquid explosives to at least 40 years in jail and three fellow British Muslims to long prison sentences. The sentences for the planned suicide bombings were among the longest ever handed out by a British court in a terrorism case.
Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, was given a minimum sentence of 40 years for plotting the biggest terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001. Assad Sarwar, 29, was ordered to serve at least 36 years in prison and Tanvir Hussain, 28, was sentenced at least 32 years. A fourth man, Umar Islam, 31, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and received a minimum of 22 years. Jurors were unable to decide in his case whether he intended to target aircraft in the plot.
The men had planned to smuggle explosives aboard the planes disguised as soft drinks and detonate them while flying. Prosecutors said they were likely just days away from mounting their suicide attacks when they were arrested in August 2006.
A court found three men guilty Monday of plotting to blow up at least seven transatlantic airliners using liquid explosives, in what would have been a “terrorist event of global proportions”. Ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali was found guilty of conspiring to murder thousands in the plot, whose discovery in 2006 triggered wide-ranging new rules on carrying liquids on commercial aircraft. Tanvir Hussain, 28, and Assad Sarwar, 29, were found guilty on the same charges of plotting to carry out bombings on aircraft flying from London’s Heathrow airport to the United States and Canada. “This was a calculated and sophisticated plot to create a terrorist event of global proportions,” the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said after the verdict. The trio were previously found guilty of conspiracy to murder, but the jury in their first trial could not decide on charges that they had plotted to kill people by bringing down airliners.
Germany on Wednesday kicked off the country’s biggest terror trial since the 9/11 attacks. Four men accused of plotting to carry out bomb attacks on targets across Germany are the focus of a high-profile case expected to last up to two years. Under tight security, four men aged between 23 and 30 took to the dock on Wednesday in Düsseldorf to answer accusations of plotting a spate of bombings in discos, restaurants, airports, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and US army installations. The alleged plot, which was in its final stages when it was thwarted by police in September 2007, would have been the most destructive in Germany’s postwar history. Sitting behind panes of bulletproof glass, the suspects being tried — Fritz Gelowicz, Adem Yilmaz, Daniel Schneider and Atilla Selek — face charges of conspiring to commit murder, plotting to launch explosive attacks and membership in a terrorist organization, the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). The men have remained silent since their arrest 18 months ago. Police detained three of the so-called “Sauerland cell” members during a sweep on a holiday home in a quiet village in the Sauerland region in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The raid was Germany’s biggest anti-terror operation to date. Police said they had been tracking the terror cell for months but stormed the cottage when it appeared that the suspects were nearly ready to strike. They are accused of having turned the unassuming holiday cottage into a bomb-making base. Among the evidence, police impounded hydrogen peroxide-based liquid explosives more potent than those used in the 2004 Madrid bombings or the 2005 attack in London.