Plotters jailed for planned attack

2013-06-10 22:03
EDL Leader Tommy Robinson speaks to supporters of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) near Downing Street in central London as they protest to the government following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby and to show support for British tro

EDL Leader Tommy Robinson speaks to supporters of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) near Downing Street in central London as they protest to the government following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby and to show support for British tro

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London - Six men who plotted to attack a rally by the anti-Islamist English Defence League (EDL) using guns, knives and a homemade nail bomb were given lengthy jail terms of almost 20 years each on Monday.

The men, who admitted to terrorism offences in April, had planned to attack the right-wing group's march though Dewsbury in northern England in June last year. But by the time they arrived, the 450 EDL demonstrators had dispersed.

They had gone armed with an explosive device containing 359 nails and 93 ball bearings, two sawn-off shotguns, two machetes, two swords and six knives.

The judge, Nicholas Hilliard, told the Old Bailey court that the nail bomb was a "horrible weapon".

"If initiated in a crowded, confined space, serious, possibly fatal injuries were to be expected," he said.

"Those at risk were not in fact confined to people who had chosen to attend the EDL rally but would have included police officers who were watching over it and any other members of the public who happened to be in the area for different reasons at the time."

After failing in their plans, the men, all aged in their 20s, were returning to their homes in Birmingham when one of their cars was stopped by chance on a motorway by traffic police concerned at the state of the vehicle.

Officers found it had no insurance and the car was impounded. Two days later, weapons were found in the boot along with 10 copies of a document addressed to the "enemies of Islam", Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister David Cameron, and explaining the motivation for the planned attack.

"To the EDL (English Drunkards League), O enemies of Allah! We have heard and seen you openly insulting the final Messenger of Allah... you should know that for every action there is a reaction," the note said.

"Today is a day of retaliation (especially) for your blasphemy of Allah and his Messenger Muhammad."

The court was told an array of extreme ideological material was found in the men's home, including a digital copy of the Inspire magazine, which was set up by al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, that included instructions on how to make a pipe bomb.

Omar Khan, Jewel Uddin, and Zohaib Ahmed were given jail sentences of 19-1/2 years while Mohammed Saud, Anzal Hussain, and Mohammed Hasseen were given terms of 18 years and nine months. All must serve two-thirds of their sentences before being considered for parole.

Media reported that leaders of the EDL who were in the public gallery for the hearing called out "God Save the Queen" as the sentences were passed.

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