London: A British court on Thursday jailed nine
Islamists inspired by slain al Qaeda lynchpin Anwar al-Awlaqi
for planning terror attacks on targets including the London
The nine men, who are all British nationals of
Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin, had pleaded guilty to a
variety of terror-related offences at a hearing a week ago at
Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London.
Judge Alan Wilkie sentenced three of the men to
"imprisonment for public protection" -- an indeterminate jail
term for suspects regarded as dangerous -- while the other
sentences ranged from 16 years to five years.
Wilkie said they were "fundamentalist Islamists who
have turned to violent terrorism in direct response to
material, both propagandist and instructive, issued on the
Internet by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."
Awlaqi, the US-born leader of AQAP, was killed on
September 30 in an air strike in Yemen.
Wilkie added that it was a "difficult and complex
sentencing" that "gives rise to a number of issues of
principle and has a high profile".
Prosecutors said the men belonged to a group of
fundamentalists who planned a spate of mail bomb attacks
during the run-up to Christmas 2010 and discussed launching a
Four of the men -- Mohammed Chowdhury, 21, and Shah
Rahman, 28, from London and brothers Gurukanth Desai, 30, and
Abdul Miah 25, from Cardiff -- admitted preparing for acts of
terrorism by planning to plant an improvised explosive device
(IED) in the toilets of the London Stock Exchange.
Miah was jailed for 16 years and 10 months, Chowdhury
for 13 years eight months, Rahman and Desai for 12 years each.
Three others, Mohammed Shahjahan, 27, Usman Khan, 20,
and Nazam Hussain, 26, all from Stoke in central England,
received indeterminate sentences with a minimum of eight years
for making longer-term plans which included taking part in
"terrorist training" in Pakistan.
Another man, Omar Latif, 28, from Cardiff, admitted
preparing for acts of terrorism but was not involved in the
specific plots and was jailed for 10 years four months.
Mohibur Rahman, 27, from Stoke, admitted possessing a
copy of Inspire, an Internet magazine produced by AQAP, and
was jailed for five years.
The Crown Prosecution Service said after the hearing
that the men were "not members of Al Qaeda but they were
clearly influenced" by Awlaqi.
"What they had in common was that they all held
extreme fundamentalist religious beliefs and were committed to
converting those beliefs into terrorist action," CPS
counter-terrorism lawyer Piers Arnold said.
During the case, prosecutors said police found a
handwritten target list at the home of one of the men that
included the Stock Exchange, the US embassy in London, Mayor
of London Boris Johnson and two rabbis.
They also talked about travelling to a militant
training camp in Pakistani Kashmir.
The group, who met due to their membership of various
extremist Islamic groups, had originally challenged the
charges against them and were due to stand trial, but at the
11th hour they changed their pleas to guilty.