The UK Woolwich Crown Court on Monday sentenced three British Muslims [press release] charged in connection with a 2006 plot to blow up numerous transatlantic flights to life in prison. Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zahman [GlobalSecurity backgrounders] were part of a conspiracy to detonate liquid bombs hidden in soft drink bottles on airliners bound for the US and Canada from London's Heathrow Airport [corporate website]. The plot was dismantled [JURIST report] after a raid carried out by London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) [official website]. During the raid, the police discovered a digital tape containing suicide videos for Savant, Khan and Zaman. All three claimed the videos were fake and pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to causing a public nuisance at a previous trial in 2008. Stuart Osborne, the MPS's senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism, said:
The martyrdom videos, the instructions left for the media to use them, passport applications, the loan applications and the forensic and surveillance ... all add up to a clear picture of intent. The length of the sentence reflects the severity of their crime. Sadly, this case also highlights that there are people out there who are intent on causing us harm.The sentence requires each of the men to serve a minimum of 20 years.
The men were convicted last week [JURIST report] of conspiracy to commit murder. A total of 24 men were arrested during 2006's Operation Overt, one of the biggest raids ever executed by MPS, and 11 were charged [JURIST report] under the Terrorism Act of 2006 and Terrorism Act of 2000 [texts]--eight with conspiracy to commit murder and preparing acts of terrorism, one with possession of articles useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism and two with failing to disclose information of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism. In September, three other men convicted of attempting to smuggle liquid explosives onto the airplanes were sentenced [JURIST reports] to life in prison by the same court.