In the Media

Suspects charged over airline bomb plot 'will deny all the allegations'

PUBLISHED August 23, 2006

ELEVEN people, including the mother of an eight- month-old baby, appeared in court for the first time yesterday in connection with an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners.

All of the accused were remanded in custody, amid tight security at the City of Westminster Magistrates? Court, including armed police officers and a low-flying helicopter.

The alleged plot was to manufacture and smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices on to passenger jets, assemble them on board and then detonate them.

Cossar Ali, 23, from Walthamstow, East London, the only woman among the defendants, wore a blue headscarf fastened tightly under her chin. She is accused of failing to disclose information which may be of ?material assistance? in preventing her husband, Ahmed Abdullah Ali, a fellow defendant, from the commission of a terrorist act.

Before a packed Court No 1, she glanced briefly at the public gallery before stating where she lives in a clear, strong voice. Her application for bail was refused by Senior District Judge Timothy Workman. She will reappear before the court on August 29.

The proceedings began with the appearance of eight men, including Mrs Ali?s husband, who were accused of conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism. They were brought into court in groups of two or three, and were wearing white sweatshirts, tracksuit bottoms and plimsolls. All the male supects had closely cropped hair and beards.

They were: Tanvir Hussain, 25, of no fixed abode; Umar Islam, 28, from East London; Arafat Waheed Khan, 25, from Walthamstow; Ahmed Abdullah Ali, 25, from Walthamstow; Ibrahim Savant, 25, from North London; Waheed Zaman, 22, from Walthamstow; Assad Ali Sarwar, 26, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and Adam Khatib, 19, from Walthamstow.

They are each charged with one offence of conspiracy to murder contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. The second charge is a new offence, contrary to Section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006, alleging that they were preparing to smuggle the component parts of improvised explosive devices on to aircraft and assemble and detonate them on board.

No formal pleas were entered and no bail applications were made. However, Tanvir Hussain?s legal representative, Mohammad Zeb, told the court: ?All allegations are denied.?

All eight were remanded in custody until September 4, when they will appear at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing. They were transported from the court in police vans, escorted by armed convoys, and taken to Belmarsh high security jail in Plumstead, southeast London.

More than 100 people had crammed into the small court for the hearings, filling every seat in the public gallery, with many sitting on the floor and even the witness box.

Later, a 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in court accused of an offence under Section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000. The charge alleges that he had in his possession a book on improvised explosive devices, some suicide notes and wills with the identities of persons prepared to commit acts of terror. No application for bail was made and he was remanded in custody until August 29.

Mehran Hussain, 23, from Chingford, East London, is accused of failing to disclose information which might be ?of material assistance? in preventing Nabeel Hussain from the commission of a terrorist act.

Nabeel Hussain, Mehran Hussain?s brother, is among those still being questioned over the alleged plot. Mehran Hussain?s legal representative indicated to the court that his client would be pleading not guilty. There was no application for bail on his behalf. He was remanded in custody until August 29.

Susan Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service counter-terrorism division, appeared for the prosecution.

All of those charged were arrested in overnight raids on August 10. Detectives have until tonight to continue questioning 11 others being held over the alleged plot. However, anti-terrorism officers are likely to apply for a series of custody extensions at the High Court today.