En britisk domstol har dømt fem britisk-pakistanske menn til livsvarig fengsel for planer om å bombe alt fra parlamentet, et supermarked, en nattklubb og et gasskraftverk. De hadde lagret 600 kg. kunstgjødsel til bombeformål. Al Qaida trakk i trådene.

Dommeren sa: «You have betrayed this country that has given you every opportunity.»

He also warned them: «All of you may never be released. It’s not a foregone conclusion.»

Det har vært en av Storbritannias mest omfattende og lengste rettssaker. MI5 kom over gruppens aktiviteter i 2004. To av de mistenkte ble overvåket da de møtte Sidique Khan, lederen for 7/7-gruppen. Men MI5 hadde den gang ikke kapasitet til å følge nok en tråd. Det kunne forhindret Storbritannias første selvmordsangrep.

Det alvorlige sett fra et britisk synspunkt er at terroristene er hjemmeavlede, at de har tett kontakt med Pakistan, hvor de får trening og står i kontakt med Al Qaida. De tre elementene til sammen er dødelige.

In one of the largest terrorism trials ever brought before the British courts, the Old Bailey heard the plotters had come together over a number of years.

The men had started out sympathetic to Muslim causes around the world – but the key plotters decided that violence was the answer as they came together for secret military training camps in Pakistan.

Back in Britain, they discussed various schemes, including targeting the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent on a busy Saturday or the Ministry of Sound nightclub in central London.

They also talked of attacking the gas or electricity network and Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament.

The group had bought 600kg of ammonium nitrate from an agricultural merchants and kept it at a storage unit in Hanwell, west London.

This fertiliser was to be the key component in the massive bomb – similar to those used in other terrorism attacks around the world.

But unbeknown to the men, some of them were already on MI5’s radar while, at the same time, staff at the storage unit tipped off police.

The unprecedented investigation also linked back to senior al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Omar Khyam, 26, from Crawley, West Sussex, was found guilty of conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between 1 January 2003 and 31 March 2004.

The ingredients of the bomb were found in this lock-up in west London
The ingredients of the bomb were found in this lock-up in west London

Also convicted were Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Jawad Akbar, 23, also of Crawley; Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire; Anthony Garcia, 24, of Barkingside, east London.

The men, all British citizens, face life sentences.

Two other men, Nabeel Hussain and Shujah Mahmood, were found not guilty.

Home Secretary John Reid said: «Five dangerous terrorists are now behind bars thanks to the hard work of our police and security services…Today’s case reminds us all that the terrorist threat we face is real and severe.»

Men convicted over UK bomb plot

Bilde: Øverst fra venstre: Jawad Akbar, Omar Khyam, Salahuddin Amin. Nederst fra venstre Anthony Garcia and Waheed Mahmood.