Three potential suicide bombers convicted of terrorism offences in London, U.K

Three men convicted of conspiracy to murder

Khan, Savant and Zaman were found guilty of conspiracy to murder today

THREE men who plotted to become suicide bombers and kill innocent members of the public have today been found guilty of conspiracy to murder.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that although they may not have been aware of the intended target, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman conspired with Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, to murder persons unknown.

Ali, Sarwar and Hussain were convicted of plotting to smuggle liquid bombs on board trans-Atlantic aircraft following a trial last year.

The convictions come as part of Operation Overt, one of the biggest investigations ever carried out by the MPS, which saw multiple arrests carried out overnight on 9 and 10 August 2006.

All three were arrested at their home addresses: Ibrahim Savant, age 29, at Denver Road, N16; Arafat Waheed Khan, age 29, at 71 Farnan Avenue, Walthamstow; Waheed Zaman, age 26, at Queen’s Road, Walthamstow, E17.

Searches were carried out which uncovered significant items including a digital tape containing the suicide videos relating to Savant, Khan and Zaman.

The videos were recorded against a backdrop of a black flag and all contained threats to the public. For example Khan states in his video: "We will rain upon you such a terror and destruction that you will never feel peace and security."

All three claimed the videos were simply spoofs, and pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance at a previous trial in 2008.

However, the jury was presented with additional evidence, that all three either already had, or were making applications for fresh passports and had attempted to secure loans or empty their bank accounts.

In addition all three had been seen visiting a house on Forest Road in Walthamstow linked to Ali and Sarwar, the principal architects of the plot to blow up transatlantic airlines.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, Senior National Co-ordinator Counter Terrorism, said:"These three men claimed they recorded their martyrdom videos as part of a documentary, however when presented with all the evidence, the jury was satisfied that they were deadly serious in their intent and were party to the conspiracy to murder.

"The martyrdom videos; the instructions left for media to use them; the fresh passport applications; the loan applications and the forensic and surveillance links to Ali, Sarwar and the bomb factory all add up to a clear picture of intent.

"It has taken a long time to bring these men to justice, and the MPS Specialist Operations, the Crown Prosecution Services and British Security Service, showed huge commitment, dedication, determination and professionalism throughout the investigation and ensuing trials.

"Sadly this case also highlights that there are people out there who are intent on causing us harm."

Sentencing will take place on Monday 12 July 2010 at Woolwich Crown Court.

OPERATION OVERT SUMMARY

A total of eleven people have been convicted of terrorist related offences following Operation Overt, the country’s biggest covert surveillance operation and one of the largest counter terrorism operations in recent years:

· Three men were found guilty of plotting to murder hundreds of people by exploding liquid bombs on board transatlantic aircraft.

· Five men were convicted of conspiring with the airline bomb plotters to murder persons unknown.

· One man was convicted of preparing acts of terrorism.

· Two men were convicted of terrorist offences unrelated to the plot.

There have been seven trials in connection with the investigation:

Trial 1

On 26 October 2007 Abdul Muneem Patel (DOB 17/4/89) was jailed for six months after a jury at the Old Bailey found him guilty on 25 September 2007 of possession of a document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, Contrary to Section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The offence related to possession of a document, namely a book tilted ‘EOD Improvised Explosives Manual’ containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

The jury found him not guilty of possession of an article for a terrorist purpose, Contrary to Section 57(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000 relating to the same document.

Trial 2

On 8 September 2008 Mohammed Gulzar was found not guilty of conspiracy to murder persons unknown by the detonation of improvised explosive devices on board transatlantic passenger aircraft.

The jury could not reach a verdict on Abdullah Ahmed Ali [aka Ahmed Ali Khan], Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam [aka Brian Young] on the same charge.

In relation to a separate charge of conspiracy to murder persons unknown Ali, Sarwar and Hussain were found guilty; Gulzar was found not guilty and the jury could not reach a verdict on Khan, Zaman, Savant and Islam.

During the course of the trial, on 14 July 2008 Ali, Sarwar, Hussain pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property, contrary to S3 (1)(a) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883. They admitted unlawfully and maliciously conspiring together and with others to cause an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property between the 1st day of January 2006 and the 11th day of August 2006.

On the same day Ali, Sarwar, Hussain, Savant and Islam admitted conspiracy to commit public nuisance, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 by conspiring together and with others between the 1st day of January 2006 and the 11th day of August 2006 to commit public nuisance by the publication of distribution of video recordings threatening the murder of persons by means of suicide operations, such threats being designed to influence the government and intimidate the public.

Zaman and Arafat Khan subsequently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause a public nuisance in the course of their defence during this trail.

Trial 3

On 7 September 2009 the ringleaders of the plot, Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, were found guilty by a jury at Woolwich Crown Court of conspiracy to murder by detonating improvised explosive devices on board transatlantic passenger aircraft.

On 14 September 2009 all three were jailed for life. Ali he must serve at least 40 years, Assad Sarwar at least 36 years and Tanvir Hussain at least 32 years.

Umar Islam was convicted on 7 September 2009 of conspiracy to murder persons unknown. The jury failed to reach a verdict on the charge of conspiracy to murder by detonating improvised explosive devices on board transatlantic passenger aircraft. He was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 22 years on 14 September.

Following the same trial Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman were found not guilty of conspiracy to murder by detonating improvised explosive devices on board transatlantic passenger aircraft. The jury were unable to reach a verdict on the charge of conspiracy to murder persons unknown. Following a recommendation by the DPP, the trio were retried on this charge and were convicted as above.

Donald Douglas Stewart-Whyte was found not guilty of both conspiracy to murder by detonating improvised explosive devices on board transatlantic passenger aircraft and conspiracy to murder persons unknown on 7 September. He has since been convicted of possession of a firearm and ammunition which were found at his address during the Overt searches. He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison but was immediately released due to time served on remand.

Trial 4

On 10 December 2009 three men were jailed in connection with the plot.

Adam Khatib, 23, was jailed for life and must serve a minimum of 18 years. Khatib plotted with Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain to murder persons unknown between January and August 2006. He was found guilty on 9 December 2009 of conspiring together with the three – and with Umar Islam, who was found guilty of conspiracy to murder in an earlier trial.

Another man, Nabeel Hussain, who met with Ali, just weeks before officers from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command made arrests in August 2006, was found guilty of a of engaging in conduct in preparation to commit acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit such acts. He was jailed for eight years.

Hussain, 25, of Chingford, met with Ali on two occasions in July 2006. He also possessed a Will that contemplated a violent death, and had a number of mobile phones, SIM cards and top-up cards and had applied for a £25,000 loan from a bank.

Mohammed Shamim Uddin, 39, of Stoke Newington, was jailed for 15 months after being found guilty of possessing records containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Uddin was found not guilty of two other terrorist charges. He was given an additional five years and nine months after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm at a separate hearing.

Trial 5

On 1 February 2010 two counts faced by Mohammed Usman Saddique were dismissed by the judge at Inner London Crown Court. The counts dismidded were engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and possessing a document or record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to Section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Trial 6

On 5 March 2010 Cossor Ali was acquitted at the Inner London Crown Court today, 5 March, of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism under Section 38(B) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Trial 7

On 8 July 2010 Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman were convicted of conspiracy to murder persons unknown.

OPERATION OVERT – FACTS AND FIGURES

Overnight on the 9th-10th August 2006 24 people were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000.
26,066 exhibits seized

9,710 statements taken

430 interviews with suspects

102 searches – including properties, open woods, cars, cafes

Countries visited – Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, Mauritius, Belgium, USA

29 surveillance teams

More than 800 devices seized, including computers, laptops, external hardrives, USB devices (226 seized from internet cafes)

15,000 CDs and DVDs and 500 floppy disks examined

Storage capacity of 14,000 gigabytes = 14 terrabytes

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