Airline bomb plot ringleader gets 40 years in UK

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.

U.K. Prosecutors to Retry 7 Men for Airline Bomb Plot (Update2)

U.K. prosecutors will retry seven British Muslims who they claim conspired to blow up several passenger planes bound for North America from London after a jury days ago failed to reach a verdict.

The men will be retried for conspiring to kill passengers by detonating homemade liquid-based bombs on trans-Atlantic flights, Ken Macdonald, the U.K.’s head prosecutor said today in an e- mailed statement. The arrests in 2006 caused airport chaos with about 2,400 flights canceled in London alone. The investigation led to airport restrictions on more than small amounts of fluids in hand luggage that remain in effect around the world. The London jury on Sept. 8, after a five-month trial, was unable to decide whether the men were guilty of plotting to blow up aircraft. The panel convicted Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain on charges of conspiracy to murder not specifically related to the plot to bomb jets bound for the U.S. and Canada. The three men convicted, along with Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam, will again face charges of trying to bomb flights. Savant, Khan, Zaman and Islam will also be retried on the same general conspiracy to the murder charges of which Ali, Sarwar and Hussain were found guilty. The panel cleared an eighth defendant in the case of all charges. Defense lawyers at Tuckers and Arani & Co, who have been acting on the case, didn’t return messages seeking comment. James Lumley reports.

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Jury hears ‘suicide recordings’

A jury has heard recordings in which one of eight men accused of an aircraft bomb plot is alleged to be showing another how to present a suicide video. Woolwich Crown Court heard the bugged conversations took place at an east London flat the prosecution claims the men used as their bomb factory in 2006. The jury heard that the man said in the recordings: “Don’t try and speak posh English… give a bit of aggression.” The British men deny conspiring to murder and endangering planes. It is claimed they planned to make hydrogen peroxide liquid bombs disguised as soft drinks to detonate in mid-air on at least seven passenger planes flying out of Heathrow Airport. The prosecution said the surveillance recordings were made when two of the defendants, Abdullah Ali, 27, and Umar Islam, 29, were inside the alleged bomb factory. A man, said to be Mr Ali, tells the other man to relax. “Don’t try and speak posh English… give a bit of aggression”, he says. There follows a long section where a man who calls himself Umar Islam is allegedly recording or rehearsing a suicide video which was found by police.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=3D246E972CB89FC4CF544125&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Airline bomb plot ‘dedicated to Bin Laden’

One of the eight men accused of a plot to blow up transatlantic flights dedicated his actions to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, a court heard today. The 19-minute “martyrdom” video of Umar Islam, 29, was played to the jury at Woolwich crown court. Wearing a black and white checked headscarf, and sitting in front of a black flag covered in Arabic writing, Islam said Allah “loves us to die and kill in his path”. “To Mullah Omar and Sheikh Osama and the brothers, keep on going, keep on remaining firm, but truly you have inspired many of the Muslims and you have inspired me personally to follow the true path of the prophet,” he said. Six of the eight defendants on trial recorded videos outlining their hatred of the west and threatening further attacks, prosecutors said. The videos were found in the car and garage of another defendant, Assad Sarwar. During his speech, Islam pointed his finger at the camera and repeatedly checked notes on his lap. Haroon Siddique reports.