Category Archives: Terrorism
One of the men shot by police in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby has been discharged from hospital, Scotland Yard said.
The 22-year-old, understood to be Michael Adebowale, from Greenwich, south-east London, was taken into custody at a police station in south London.
He was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Drummer Rigby on May 22, and was further arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer. He will now be interviewed by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command.
Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, 28, have been recovering in hospital after they were both shot by armed police in the immediate aftermath of Drummer Rigby’s murder.
The young soldier was hacked to death near Woolwich barracks in south-east London last Wednesday, and since his death detectives have arrested 10 people. These include Adebowale and Adebolajo, as well as a 50-year-old man who was held in Welling, south-east London on Monday and is currently being questioned.
A 22-year-old man arrested in Highbury, north London, on Sunday, and three men detained on Saturday over the killing have all been released on bail, as has a fifth man, aged 29. Two women, aged 29 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder but later released without charge.
In the wake of the attack it emerged that Adebolajo and Adebowale were both known to MI5. Adebolajo was also arrested by Kenyan authorities three years ago because they feared he was attempting to join an al Qaida-linked militant group, the country’s anti-terrorism police said.
The murder has sparked a flurry of activity by far right group the English Defence League, and on Monday more than 1,000 supporters marched to Downing Street chanting “Muslim killers off our streets” and “There’s only one Lee Rigby” in tribute to the soldier.
A massive police presence kept them separate from a smaller group of anti-fascist activists, with officers making 13 arrests in total for a range of public order offences. Forces charity Help for Heroes announced it will not accept any donations raised by EDL leader Tommy Robinson or other members of the group, or any political party.
Police are now investigating two attacks by vandals on the RAF Bomber Command memorial and the Animals in War memorial in London. Both were daubed with graffiti and although the words written on the two memorials have now been covered up, it is thought “Islam” had been written on each of them.
The family of a murdered prison officer who was widely believed to have been killed by the IRA has held a meeting with Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams.
Brian Stack, who was Chief Prison Officer at Portlaoise Prison in the Irish Republic, was shot in Dublin in 1983. He died 18 months later.
The IRA never claimed responsibility for the murder, but his family believe he was targeted because of his job.
His son, Austin Stack, described the meeting as very productive and genuine.
Two of the murdered officer’s sons met Mr Adams at the Irish houses of parliament in Dublin on Thursday evening.
Speaking after the meeting, Austin Stack told the Irish state broadcaster RTE that no promises has been made, but that the Sinn Fein president had agreed to help them as best he could.
Mr Stack added that his family felt the offer was genuine and said they are due to meet Mr Adams again in about four weeks.
His father was shot in the back of the neck as he walked along Dublin’s South Circular Road shortly after leaving a boxing tournament.
He was the only prison officer to be assassinated in the Republic of Ireland during the Troubles.
The man who carried out the shooting escaped on a motorbike, driven by an accomplice.
The prison officer was left brain damaged and paralysed from the neck down by the shooting and died from his injuries.
Austin Stack, the eldest of his three children, was 14 at the time of the shooting and is now the assistant governor of Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin.
He said he believes the IRA carried out the attack because his father thwarted a number attempts by members of the paramilitary group to escape from Portlaoise Prison and to smuggle weapons into the high security jail.
Mr Stack has said he wants the IRA to admit responsibility for his father’s murder and his family want answers and closure from their discussions with the Sinn Fein president.
They have asked Mr Adams to speak to his contacts about the killing in the hope they can find out who carried it out and why.
“We’re not looking for any form of revenge. We would like to sit down with those people, talk to them and get some form of responsibility.”
Mr Adams, who stepped down as MP for West Belfast to become a member of the Irish parliament two years ago, has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.
Speaking after the meeting, the Sinn Fein president told RTE it had been a “good” and “comprehensive discussion”.
“There are many families who are looking for closure. It may be that I won’t be able to help but I certainly have the desire to be of assistance,” Mr Adams said.
He added: “We have each agreed to go off and reflect on what was said. And we have agreed to meet again.”
A jihadist terror cell which plotted mass murder worse than the July 7 attacks with the blessing of al Qaida has today been jailed.
Ringleader Irfan Naseer, 31, was handed a life sentence at Woolwich Crown Court and will serve a minimum of 18 years before he is considered for release.
The rest of the Birmingham gang, which aimed to explode up to eight rucksack bombs in suicide bombings, were sentenced to serve a total of up to 72 years behind bars for their part in the plan.
Police believe it was the most significant terror plot to be uncovered since the 2006 conspiracy to blow up transatlantic airliners using bombs disguised as soft drinks.
Sentencing, Mr Justice Henriques described Nasser as a “skilful bomb-maker” and the group’s “leader, driving force and man in charge”.
Addressing the defendant, who appeared to mutter under his breath, the judge said: “Clearly nothing was going to stop you, short of intervention of the authorities.
“I have no doubt you would have continued with your plan but for that intervention.”
The judge warned the chemistry graduate that although he would be considered for licence in 18 years, a parole board would not release him until he renounced “extremist views”.
At the head of the gang with Naseer were his “inseparable” lieutenant Irfan Khalid, 28, and Ashik Ali, also 28, who provided them with a safe house.
Khalid boasted that the attack was going to be “another 9/11″, while Naseer was heard agreeing that the July 7 attacks had not done enough damage because there were no nails in the bombs.
Sentencing Khalid to an extended sentence of 23 years and a minimum of 12 behind bars, Mr Justice Henriques said he took into account that Khalid had been found to be in the bottom 2%-5% in terms of cognitive ability.
Partially-sighted Ali, wearing a white robe, was given an extended sentence of 20 years and must serve a minimum of 10 before he can be considered for release on licence.
The judge said he did not accept the defendant’s portrayal of himself as the group’s “tea boy or runner for others”.
In a conversation heard by police, Ali told his estranged wife Salma Kabal, who was cleared earlier this month of withholding information about the plot: “Oh, you think this is a flipping Four Lions. We’re one man short.”
In February, Naseer was found guilty of five counts of preparation of terrorist acts, Khalid of four, and Ali of three, all between Christmas Day 2010 and September 19 2011.
For Naseer, from Sparkhill, Khalid, from Sparkbrook, and Ali, from Balsall Heath, this included planning a bombing campaign, collecting money for terrorism and recruiting others for terrorism.
Mr Justice Henriques said Naseer bore “sole responsibility” for sending Shahid Khan, 21, Khobaib Hussain, 21, Ishaaq Hussain, 21, and Naweed Ali, 25, to Pakistan for terror training in August 2011.
Three of the youngsters, all from Sparkhill, were forced to return just three days later after relatives got wind of the sinister reasons for their journey.
Sentencing all four to 40 months in prison, of which they will serve a minimum of 20 months, the judge said: “It is a chilling thought that unbeknown to your parents you left this country intending to undergo a period of terror training.”
The four had pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts by travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism.
Attempting to fund their plot by posing as Muslim Aid charity street collectors, the group duped legitimate supporters into giving them money.
They raised £12,000 for themselves in this way, but were forced to apply for tens of thousands of pounds in loans after losing more than £9,000 of the money playing foreign currency markets.
“Chief financier” Rahin Ahmed, 26, from Moseley, was sentenced to 17 years and will serve six years before he can be released on licence after he admitted collecting, investing and managing money for terrorism.
Ashik Ali’s older brother Bahader Ali, 29, Mohammed Rizwan, 34, and Mujahid Hussain, 21, were also recruited by the cell.
Bahader Ali and Rizwan were said to have been unsure whether to join the “ammal” (action) against “infidels” in the UK or fight abroad, while Mujahid Hussain helped with fundraising.
Today they received sentences of between six and four years in jail for their role in the plot.
From Sparkhill, Rizwan had pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts, while Bahader Ali, from Sparkbrook, and Mujahid Hussain, from Yardley, both admitted entering a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism.
Bahader Ali also pleaded guilty to collecting information about terrorism and encouraging the preparatory acts of others and Mujahid Hussain admitted having information about acts of terrorism.
The gang were thwarted by the largest investigation ever carried out by the 450-strong counter-terrorism unit, involving 24-hour surveillance and the bugging of the men’s safe house.
Mr Justice Henriques said he wanted to ensure that the officers who worked on the case receive a judicial commendation for their “extraordinary” work.
White Muslim convert Richard Dart (above) declared “judging is only for Allah” and refused to stand in the dock as he was jailed for six years for terrorism today.
The 30-year-old son of Dorset teachers was sentenced at the Old Bailey with two co-conspirators Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood for engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism.
The trio had admitted the offence between July 2010 and July last year at a previous hearing last month.
Mr Justice Simon told the trio they held “radical Islamist beliefs and have shown yourselves to be committed to acts of terrorism”.
Dart was jailed for six years, Alom for four years and six months and Mahmood for nine years and nine months.
Mahmood and Dart were both given extended sentences, meaning that they will serve two-thirds of their prison terms rather than half, and they will spend five years on licence.
Dart refused to stand when he was sentenced, saying: “I don’t wish to stand up, I believe ruling and judging is only for Allah.”
The judge said that they were all “committed fundamentalists” who would have been prepared to kill.
He told Dart and Mahmood: “I’m satisfied to the required criminal standard that neither of you had ruled out an attack in the United Kingdom, and that you, Mahmood, were looking at arming yourself with a bomb.”
Dart and Alom travelled to Pakistan to try to get terrorist training, and took advice from Mahmood who had already visited the country.
Former BBC security guard Dart also discussed bomb making with Mahmood, and military repatriation town Wootton Bassett as a potential target.
Police discovered fragments of text on Dart’s laptop that revealed that the pair had used the computer to have a “silent conversation” to avoid possible surveillance bugs.
They would open a Word document and take it in turns to type, before deleting the text and mistakenly assuming that none of it would be stored on the machine.
However forensic experts were able to plough through 2,000 pages of computer code to decipher fragments of what was said.
These included Mahmood making a reference to Wootton Bassett and then adding “if it comes down to it it’s that or even just to deal with a few MI5 MI6 heads”.
Counter-terrorism teams also believe that the pair used the same tactic walking down the street with a mobile phone.
Dart and Mahmood were both born in the UK, while Alom was born in Bangladesh but is a British citizen.
Pre-sentence reports concluded that the trio are all dangerous offenders.
Dart, 30, of Broadway, Ealing, west London; Mahmood, 22, from Dabbs Hill Lane, Northolt, west London; and Alom, 26, of Abbey Road, Stratford, east London had all been stopped at airports while travelling to and from Pakistan.
When Mahmood was stopped at Manchester Airport in 2010, traces of explosives were found on two rucksacks that he had with him.
He later admitted that he had received rudimentary training in explosives while in Pakistan.
Dart, who changed his name to Salahuddin al-Britani, became involved in extremism after moving from his home town Weymouth to east London and fraternising with radical preacher Anjem Choudary.
His beliefs were brought into the spotlight as part of a television documentary My Brother The Islamist, by his stepbrother Robb Leech.
Alom joined the Territorial Army in 2006 as part of the G Company 7th Battalion the Rifles, but did not complete his training due to medical reasons.
The following year he became a PCSO but left the job in September 2009.
Today Mr Justice Simon said that he and Dart were “the object of suspicion” for their fellow radicals, and may have felt the need to prove themselves.
Alom had his own contact with a fourth man, Mohammed Tariq Nasar, a Briton now living in Pakistan, to try to get terrorist training. Mr Nasar has not been charged with any offence.
The trio were arrested on July 5 last year just before the start of the Olympics, and were charged on July 18.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, from the Met’s counter-terrorism command, said: “These are dangerous men. Mahmood had received terrorist training in Pakistan and suggested he had knowledge of how to make home-made explosives, while Dart and Alom made great efforts to travel to Pakistan and aspired to seek training from terrorist groups there.
“This case serves as a classic example of how terrorists live in our midst while preparing their acts and their determination to travel overseas to train before returning to the UK.”
The Home Secretary has pinned her hopes for ousting Abu Qatada from Britain on a fresh deal with the Jordanians – but warned it could still take many months to deport the reviled hate preacher.
Theresa May said a new treaty between the UK and Jordan guarantees that torture evidence will not be used against the terror suspect if he is returned to the Middle Eastern country.
But sounding a note of caution, Mrs May said the agreement does not mean Qatada will be “on a plane to Jordan within days” as he will still be able to appeal against any fresh decisions to deport him.
The Labour Party said the move took the legal process back to “square one”, while a leading human rights barrister accused the Home Secretary of “wasting taxpayers’ money”.
The so-called “mutual legal assistance agreement” includes fair trial guarantees, the Home Secretary said, which would apply to anyone being deported from either the UK or Jordan.
“I believe these guarantees will provide the courts with the assurance that Qatada will not face evidence that might have been obtained by torture in a retrial in Jordan, ” she told the House of Commons.
Before the deal can come into force, and become a formal treaty, it must be ratified by both countries.
Mrs May went on: “I believe that the treaty we have agreed with Jordan – once ratified by both parliaments – will finally make possible the deportation of Abu Qatada.
“But as I have warned the House before, even when the treaty is fully ratified, it will not mean that Qatada will be on a plane to Jordan within days. We will be able to issue a new deportation decision, but Qatada will still have legal appeals available to him, and it will therefore be up to the courts to make the final decision. That legal process may well still take many months, but in the meantime I believe Qatada should remain behind bars.”
On Tuesday, the Government suffered another blow in its long-running battle to boot Qatada out of the country when the Court of Appeal refused it permission to take the fight to the Supreme Court. The Home Secretary said the Government would now request permission to appeal directly from the Supreme Court.
Downing Street is considering a temporary withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights in order to allow hate preacher Abu Qatada to be expelled from the United Kingdom, it emerged today.
Asked whether this course of action was on the table, Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman told reporters: “We are going to explore every option.”
Home Secretary Theresa May will update MPs on the Government’s plans in a statement in the House of Commons later today, following the latest setback in the long-running battle to deport the cleric, once seen as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe.
The Home Office is planning to apply directly to the Supreme Court for permission to challenge a Court of Appeal ruling that Qatada cannot be deported to Jordan over fears that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him.
The Appeal Court yesterday refused permission for Mrs May to challenge its March ruling at the Supreme Court, forcing the Home Secretary to take her case direct to the highest court in the land.
Mr Cameron immediately summoned Mrs May, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and Attorney General Dominic Grieve to what was described as a “council of war” to discuss all available options for removing Qatada.
A Number 10 source said following the meeting that the appeal process had to be gone through but the Prime Minister wanted to explore all ways to “get him out of the country” if it failed.
Asked at a daily Westminster media briefing today whether this included the possibility of a temporary withdrawal from the ECHR, Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: “I am not going to get into specifics on the details of what the Government is considering, but we are going to explore every option.”
The Home Office said it was “disappointed” with the Court of Appeal’s decision, but added: “The Government remains committed to deporting this dangerous man and we continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing deportation.”
The Supreme Court process involves consideration by three justices of a permission to appeal application. They decide whether the application raises a point of law of general public importance.
At the Court of Appeal last month, Mrs May’s lawyers challenged a ruling made in November by immigration judges on the grounds that Qatada was a “truly dangerous” individual who had escaped deportation through “errors of law”.
But three appeal judges said the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) was entitled to conclude that disputed statements will be used against Qatada.
Qatada, who featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the 9/11 bombers, has thwarted every attempt by the Government to put him on a plane.
A resident in the UK since September 1993, he was returned to jail last month after he was arrested for alleged bail breaches.
Police searched Qatada’s family home in London before he was held and have since said that he is being investigated over extremist material.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said after the decision was announced: “A year ago, Theresa May promised Abu Qatada would soon be on a plane. Now it is clear her legal strategy has completely failed. The Home Secretary must tell us urgently what she is going to do now to get Abu Qatada deported or tried, and keep him off our streets.”
Just over half of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are on hunger strike, the US military confirmed.
A spokesman said 84 prisoners have been classified as hunger strikers out of the 166-strong population at the base in Cuba.
Army Lt Col Samuel House said 16 of the 84 prisoners are being force-fed and five have been taken to hospital. None are in a life-threatening condition.
About a week after a clash between guards and prisoners, the hunger strike is steadily growing. On Tuesday, the number of hunger strikers was 45. By Friday, 63 prisoners had joined.
Prisoners have been on a hunger strike since early February to protest against conditions and their indefinite confinement.
The US holds 166 men at the prison, most without charge.
Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said the continued detention without charge of these people was an affront to justice.
“It simply cannot continue, I recognise there is no easy answer to what you do with these people, but leaving them to rot in jail because we cannot come up with a solution is an affront to justice.
“Nine eleven was almost 12 years ago, in the UK they’ve all served the best part of a sentence lasting a quarter of a century – they are all someone’s loved one, we owe justice to the families as well as to the detainees.”
Three members of an al Qaida-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp had their indeterminate sentences quashed by the Court of Appeal today.
Three judges in London instead imposed “determinate” custodial sentences of 17 years and eight months in the case of one of the men and 16 years in relation to the two others.
The Islamist extremists originally received the indeterminate sentences for public protection at London’s Woolwich Crown Court in February last year.
Mohammed Shahjahan, now 29, was at that stage ordered to serve a minimum term of eight years and 10 months, while fellow Stoke-on-Trent-based radicals Usman Khan, 22, and Nazam Hussain, 27, were ordered to serve at least eight years behind bars.
Allowing their sentence appeals, Lord Justice Leveson, sitting with Mr Justice Mitting and Mr Justice Sweeney, ruled that Shahjahan now has to serve 17 years and eight months and Khan and Hussain 16 years.
All three received extended sentences meaning that each will have to spend an extra five years on licence after they are freed from prison.
The trio were originally sentenced along with six others – four of the nine were from Stoke, three from Cardiff and two from London.
The appeal judges said that having “reduced” the three sentences by removing the sentence for public protection, they had come to the conclusion that it was right to make a “marginal” adjustment to the term imposed on another appellant.
They knocked six months off the five-year sentence originally handed out to Mohibur Rahman, now 28, from Stoke-on-Trent.
Rahman had received the five years for possessing two copies of the online al Qaida magazine Inspire for terrorist purposes.
The judges also dismissed a sentence appeal by Omar Latif, 29, from Cardiff, who was jailed for 10 years and four months, with an extended period on licence of another five years, for attending meetings with the intention of assisting others to prepare or commit acts of terrorism.
Boston Police has confirmed that two people have been killed and at least 23 injured following two explosions which took place during Monday’s marathon in the city.
The force’s official Twitter account confirmed the fatalities, having earlier said that at least one explosion took place on Boylston Street in downtown Boston. The explosion took place after the elite race had finished. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopa won the men’s race with Rita Jeptoo winning the women’s.
A statement from the organisers on via Facebook read: “There were two bombs that exploded near the finish line in today’s Boston Marathon. We are working with law enforcement to understand what exactly has happened.”
The race – the world’s oldest annual marathon – is held each year on Patriot’s Day. The popular event attracts huge numbers of spectators and this year’s race had around 25,000 registered entrants, with the official website listing 374 competitors from the United Kingdom.
The explosion took place as runners were still on the course, with those yet to reach the finish being held by police around the 26-mile mark. A Foreign Office spokesman pledged to look into the incident.
“We are aware of the incident and we are trying to gather information,” said a spokesman, while Foreign Secretary William Hague Tweeted to say: “Appalled by news of explosion at Boston marathon. My thoughts are with everyone affected by it and all those waiting for news.”
Television pictures showed bloodied spectators and runners lying on the ground, emergency workers ripping away fencing and others carrying injured men and women from the scene.
Pictures also emerged on Twitter showing casualties lying on the pavement on Boylston Street – the main road through the east coast city – and debris blowing around them. Another photograph appeared to show participants running down the street at the moment an explosion created a fireball, sending smoke into the air.
UK Athletics confirmed to Press Association Sport that none of their elite runners had taken part and added that Ross Murray, who ran Sunday’s one mile invitational was “absolutely fine”, and the 22-year-old Tweeted: “Just so everyone knows, I’m ok and well , wasn’t around the bombs. Xx”
Tatyana McFadden, who won three golds in London Paralympics, won the women’s wheelchair race and later Tweeted: “I’m am okay my family and teammates are okay. Please please pray for those who were running and got hit by the bomb. Pray 4 family’s-friends.”