Socialist Worker

Questions that remain over fertiliser 'bomb plot'

Issue No. 2049

This week’s “bomb plot trial” verdicts have not satsified all questions about the case.

Seven men were arrested in March 2004 following the discovery of more than Half a ton of chemical fertiliser in storage in west London. Omar Khyam, Waheed Mahmood, Jawad Akbar, Salahuddin Amin, Anthony Garcia were all convicted of terror offences.

Nabeel Hussain and Shujah Mahmood, were found not guilty.

The defendants denied there was a plot. Some said they did not know what the fertiliser was, or that they were only interested in sending money to fighters in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Reading a statement on behalf of the five convicted men, solicitor Imran Khan said the trial was marred by “coached witnesses” and “an atmosphere of hostility against Muslims at home and abroad”.

Amin handed himself in to Pakistani authorities in April 2004, but was held without charge for ten months before he was flown back to Britain, where he was arrested. Amin told the court that Pakistani interrogators threatened to “drill another hole in his backside”.

The key prosecution witness was Mohammed Junaid Babar. Since his arrest in New York in 2004, Babar has given evidence to prosecutors in four countries.

He was given immunity from prosecution in Britain in exchange for his testimony.

In the first half of the 1980s a succession of trials took place in Northern Ireland on the evidence of “supergrasses” from Republican paramilitary organisations prepared to betray hundreds of their former alleged confederates.

The process collapsed when convictions were overturned after supergrasses were shown to have concocted evidence.

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Tue 1 May 2007, 19:22 BST
Issue No. 2049
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