2006 transatlantic aircraft plot

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2006 transatlantic airline plots in the United Kingdom
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Suspects
Security reaction
Police at the scene of one of the raids, on Forest Road, Walthamstow, London.

The 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot was a terrorist plot to detonate liquid explosives carried on board at least 10 airliners travelling from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada.[1] The plot was discovered and foiled by British police before it could be carried out and, as a result, unprecedented security measures were immediately put in place.

The restrictions were gradually relaxed in the following weeks, but the ability of passengers to carry liquids onto commercial aircraft is still limited.

Of the approximately 24 suspects who were arrested in and around London on the night of 9 August 2006, eleven were charged with terrorism offences on 21 August, two on 25 August (subsequently discharged on 1 November), and a further three on 30 August. Eight men (Ahmed Abdullah Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Oliver Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman, Umar Islam, Mohammed Gulzar) were charged in connection with the plot. The trial began in April 2008 and ended in September. The jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of conspiracy to kill by blowing up aircraft, but the court did find three guilty of conspiracy to murder. In September 2009, a second trial (of the eight men excluding Gulzar but with the addition of Donald Stewart-Whyte) found Ali, Sarwar, and Hussain guilty of the plot.[2]

In July 2010, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan and Waheed Zaman were found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to murder. They must serve a minimum of 20 years in prison before being eligible for release.[3]

Surveillance[edit]

In Pakistan, a British man from Birmingham named Rashid Rauf is believed to have put plotters in touch with al-Qaeda's leadership.[4] When Ahmed Ali, who was under police surveillance, returned from Pakistan in June 2006, investigators secretly opened his baggage. Inside they found a powdered soft drink—Tang—and a large number of batteries. It was enough to raise suspicions and in the following weeks, the police mounted the UK's largest surveillance operation, calling on an additional 220 officers from other forces.

Assad Sarwar (from High Wycombe) was seen buying items that did not appear to fit with his daily needs, and which may have had a potentially deadly context. On one occasion, surveillance officers watched him dispose of empty hydrogen peroxide bottles at a recycling centre. Sarwar and Ali were seen meeting in an east London park. When MI5 covertly entered a flat being used by Ali, they found what appeared to be a bomb factory. They left behind a camera and microphone, and on 3 August Ali and Tanvir Husain were seen constructing devices out of drink bottles. Surveillance officers watched Ali spend two hours in an internet cafe researching flight timetables.[5]

Arrests[edit]

On 9 August 2006, British police arrested 24 suspects. The arrests were made in London, Birmingham, and High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in an overnight operation. Two of the arrests were made in the Birmingham area, where firearms officers were not involved, and five were made in High Wycombe.[6] The key suspects were British-born Muslims, some of Pakistani descent.[7][8][9] Three of the suspects were recent converts to Islam.[10]

Nineteen of the suspects had their finances frozen. Seventeen of the suspects were later charged with conspiracy to murder and commit acts of terrorism or failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism. Eight of the suspects were released without charge. Another seven suspects were arrested in Pakistan on charges related to the alleged plot.

Police said they had been observing this plot for months, and that the "investigation reached a critical point last night (9 August 2006) when the decision was made to take urgent action in order to disrupt what we believe was being planned."[11] An undercover British agent had infiltrated the group, according to American government sources.[12] According to Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom & Security, "the plotters received a very short message to 'Go now'."[13] However, it was not clear when the attacks were supposed to have been launched, and the New York Times has since reported that the plans were at an earlier stage than was initially stated.[13]

Targeted flights

British authorities carried out a total of 69 searches of residences, businesses, vehicles and open spaces, which netted bomb-making equipment and chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke said on 21 August 2006. "As well as the bomb-making equipment, we have found more than 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8,000 items of removable storage media such as memory sticks, CDs and DVDs," he said. "So far, from the computers alone, we have removed some 6,000 gigabytes of data." It will take "many months" for investigators to analyse all of the data, he said.[14] Police said they found a list of flights on a memory stick belonging to Mr. Ali following his arrest. The memory stick allegedly listed scheduled flights from three carriers – American Airlines, United Airlines and Air Canada.[15]

Disagreement over when to make the arrests[edit]

NBC News reported disagreement between the United States and the United Kingdom over when to make the arrests. According to NBC News, a senior British official contended that an attack was not imminent, noting that the suspects had not yet purchased airline tickets and some did not even have passports; he urged that the investigation continue to collect more evidence. The report noted that this official's statement was contrary to statements by other British officials previously reported in the press.[16]

The same source also told NBC News that the United States had threatened to use extraordinary rendition upon suspected ringleader Rashid Rauf in Pakistan, or to pressure the Pakistan government to arrest him, if he were not immediately taken into custody. A United States official acknowledged this disagreement over the timing of arrests and that a British official believed that an attack was not imminent. However, Frances Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, denied the report of a dispute: "There was no disagreement between US and UK officials."[16]

In Ron Suskind's The Way of the World (2008), Dick Cheney is reported to have "ordered" the arrest of Rauf in Pakistan in August 2006, apparently with a view to providing good news ahead of the US 2006 mid-term elections.[17]

The alleged plot[edit]

Responsibility[edit]

Paul Beaver, a British terrorism expert, has said that it appears possible that the militant Islamic organisation al-Qaeda was behind the plot, which comes only weeks after the group threatened to attack British aviation.[18] DHS Secretary Chertoff stated the plot was "getting close to the execution phase", and that it was "suggestive of an al-Qaeda plot".[19]

Liquid explosives[edit]

Allegedly, the plotters planned to use peroxide-based liquid explosives.[9] US authorities named two peroxides that could be used: acetone peroxide (TATP) and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD). These "are sensitive to heat, shock, and friction, can be initiated simply with fire or electrical charge, and can also be used to produce improvised detonators."[20][21] According to The Guardian, police sources have confirmed that the plot involved TATP.[22] According to the New York Times, the plotters wanted to use HMTD.[13]

During the trial of the conspirators the prosecution stated that each alleged bomber would board a plane with the "necessary ingredients and equipment". They would then construct the devices mid-flight and detonate them. The alleged bombs would include 500 ml plastic bottles of the Oasis and Lucozade soft drinks. A sugary drink powder, Tang, would be mixed with hydrogen peroxide, which is widely available in the form of hair bleach, and with other organic materials. Hydrogen peroxide and the other ingredients can become explosive if mixed to a specific strength. The mixture would be injected into a bottle with the help of a syringe. The bottle's cap would not have been removed and the hole would have been resealed, thereby allowing the device to resemble a normal drink bottle when screened by airport security. The use of liquid explosives with dissolved powder is similar to the composition used in the 21 July 2005 London bombings, using hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour, detonated by a booster explosive.[23]

A second substance, a type of high explosive, would be hidden within an AA battery; this small explosive charge would be sufficient to detonate the main bomb. The charge would be detonated by linking the bottle of explosives to a light bulb and a disposable camera. The charge from the camera's flash unit would be enough to trigger the explosion.[15]

On 28 August 2006, the New York Times reported that seven martyrdom tapes made by six suspects were recovered.[13] This was confirmed by prosecution during the subsequent trial.

Flights targeted[edit]

The court reviewing the case heard from prosecutors that the suspects did not restrict themselves to the following flights; the prosecutors said that the suspects talked about including 18 suicide bombers and that they examined Denver, Boston, and Miami as destinations to target possibly along with the other flights.

  • United States United Airlines Flight 931 to San Francisco departing at 14:15 on a Boeing 777
  • Canada Air Canada Flight 849 to Toronto-Pearson departing at 15:00 on an Airbus A330[24]
  • Canada Air Canada Flight 865 to Montreal-Trudeau departing at 15:15 on an Airbus A330[24]
  • United States United Airlines Flight 959 to Chicago-O'Hare departing at 15:40 on a Boeing 777
  • United States United Airlines Flight 925 to Washington-Dulles departing at 16:20 on a Boeing 777
  • United States American Airlines Flight 131 to New York-JFK departing at 16:35 on a Boeing 777
  • United States American Airlines Flight 91 to Chicago-O'Hare departing at 16:50 on a Boeing 777

Pakistan's role[edit]

Initial reactions praised Pakistan's assistance in stopping the plot before its execution. However, later press reports have questioned Pakistan's claimed commitment to the War on Terrorism.[25][26][27]

Other press reports that the alleged bombers were funded by "charities" intended to help victims of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.[28] The FBI and Scotland Yard investigated links to militants and the flow of money to the conspirators.[29] Pakistan and international press also reported that Rashid Rauf, the key player in the plot, had links with the Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Kashmir militant group banned by several countries.[30][31] Media reports state that he has close family ties to Maulana Masood Azhar, one of the most wanted criminals in India.[32]

In Pakistan, law enforcement authorities continued to interrogate Rashid Rauf, a Briton of Pakistani descent, over his alleged key role in the plot. Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said British police were conducting inquiries in Pakistan but were not involved in questioning Rauf.[33] The UK Foreign Office sought Rauf's extradition from Pakistan, and it was reported that Pakistan plans to accept the request.[34] However, in mid-December 2006, terrorism charges against Rauf were dropped by a Pakistani judge, who ruled there was a lack of evidence. Rauf's case was transferred from a terrorism court to a regular court where he faced lesser charges including forgery.[35] The charges were later dropped, and Rauf was reported killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan in November 2008.

Political reaction[edit]

Prior to the arrests, the plot was discussed at a high level of government, with then Prime Minister Tony Blair knowing about it for months, and alerting President George W. Bush to the investigation on Sunday 6 August 2006.[36]

On 9 August, hours before the arrests, the then Home Secretary John Reid gave a major speech to Demos (a British think-tank) hinting at a new round of anti-terror legislation and claiming that the country was facing "probably the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of the second world war".[37] The following day Reid broke the news along with Douglas Alexander, the Transport Secretary.[38]

Public announcement[edit]

On 10 August 2006 the Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Paul Stephenson, said that the plot, aimed to destroy as many as ten aircraft in mid-flight from the United Kingdom to the United States, using explosives brought on board in the suspects' hand luggage, was disrupted.[9] News media reported that planned targets included American Airlines, British Airways, Continental Airlines, and United Airlines flights from London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports to Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles; Miami; Orlando, Florida; Boston; Newark, New Jersey; New York City; San Francisco; Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C.[39] Air Canada flights were also included, with destinations being Montreal and Toronto. BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said the plot involved a series of simultaneous attacks, targeting three planes each time.[40] Reports vary regarding the number of planes involved, ranging from three to twelve.[41][42] In a press release, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, said "multiple commercial aircraft" were targeted.[43] Some reports say the attacks were planned for 16 August, but police say no evidence specifying the date has been found.[44][45] British officials have since stated that the estimate of ten aircraft was "speculative and exaggerated."[13]

In the United States, the announcement was made during a joint press conference by the head of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the Director of the FBI Robert Mueller. Chertoff refused to be drawn on questions about the design of the devices or whether any bombs had actually been built.[43]

On the same day, President George Bush commented upon arrival in Wisconsin: "The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."[46]

Responses[edit]

  • On 12 August, British Muslim groups sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, stating that "current British government policy risks putting civilians at increased risk both in the UK and abroad."[47] Many such groups and even certain sectors of UK government[48] have suggested that (among other factors) the foreign policy position of the United Kingdom in places such as Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq is to a large extent responsible for the increasing radicalisation of young Muslims in the UK, thus promoting the possibility of actions like the 7 July 2005 London bombings. The letter also states "Attacking civilians is never justified", and encourages the UK to reassess its foreign policy in order to maintain the safety of individuals both in the UK and abroad. In interviews with the BBC, John Reid described the letter as "a dreadful misjudgement", and former Conservative leader Michael Howard described it as "a form of blackmail".[49]
  • Prime Minister Tony Blair was on holiday during these events, but decided not to return to the UK. Blair had been notified of the raid prior to its occurrence, and kept in constant contact with officials. He briefed President George W. Bush about the raid overnight.[50]
  • Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, nominally running the UK government during Tony Blair's holiday, paid tribute to the way the UK reacted to what he called an "extraordinary past 36 hours… in the efforts to protect this country". He expressed his "deepest appreciation" to the "real dedication" shown by security services, police, transport staff and aviation companies and praised Home Secretary Dr John Reid and Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander. Prescott added that the British public had acted "calmly, sensitively and with great patience."[51]

Scepticism in response to the arrests[edit]

Several commentators expressed scepticism over the allegations.[52][53][54] Many mentioned the Forest Gate raid, the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and the Iraq War, all based on intelligence that turned out to be wrong, as reasons for their doubts.[55][56] Muslim sections of the British population were also reportedly sceptical that the plot was carried out by other Muslims.[57]

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray was sceptical of the account of the plot. He based his criticism on the facts that "None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not have passports." He also suggested that suspected ringleader Rashid Rauf invented the plot under torture in Pakistan.[58]

The Register ran a story on the practicalities of producing TATP on board an aeroplane from constituent liquids and concluded that, while theoretically possible, the chances of success would be extremely low. Later, following additional details revealed at the trial The Register wrote that the plot and bombing method chosen was viable.[59][60]

A retired Lieutenant-Colonel Nigel Wylde, a former senior British Army Intelligence Officer with decades of anti-terror and explosives experience, declared the plot to be "fiction", an invention of the UK security services in order to justify wide-ranging new security measures that threaten to permanently curtail civil liberties. He said the explosives in question could not possibly have been produced on the plane. [61] [62]

Security reaction[edit]

In the immediate aftermath of the first arrests, passenger rules were amended for flights between the United States and the United Kingdom to make all liquids (apart from baby milk) forbidden, including beverages, hair gels, toothpaste, lipstick, sunscreen, and hand lotions, due to the suspicion that liquids were planned to be used in the attacks. Since passengers may purchase beverages after passing regular airport checkpoints, gate checkpoints were also implemented at many American airports, such as Boston's Logan International Airport.[63]

United Kingdom[edit]

Following the raids, the terror alert level was raised by the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre from 'severe' to 'critical', signalling an attack was believed to be imminent, although this was only done after the raid.[39] On 14 August 2006 the threat level was reduced from 'Critical' to 'Severe'.[64]

In the immediate aftermath of the raids, no hand luggage was allowed except for a very few essentials such as travel documents and wallets. Hand baggage was reintroduced at some smaller airports on 14 August, but was not permitted at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports until 15 August. The size of baggage was restricted to 45 cm × 35 cm × 16 cm, but this was increased to 56 cm × 45 cm × 25 cm as of 22 September 2006.[65]

Despite having made it clear in August that the unprecedented security measures were "here to stay",[66] at the end of September, upon pressure from the industry representatives and professional musicians, the British government relaxed the restrictions on size to the aviation industry standard (56 cm × 45 cm × 25 cm) and allowed musical instruments as carry-on luggage.[67][68]

On 6 November 2006 the restrictions were relaxed once again to allow limited amounts of liquids in the cabin.[65]

In November 2007 Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly announced that from 8 January 2008 British airports will be able to allow more than one item of hand luggage on board. This was following criticism in October by the shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers, who said that because of the restrictive rules, Heathrow was "rapidly becoming a national embarrassment". Chief executive of British Airways Willie Walsh was also critical, saying that they are "damaging the UK's reputation around the world from a business perspective".[69] However, the implementation of this new rule is subject to the discretion of the individual airports, and at some airports, differs depending on the airline travelled with.[70]

United States[edit]

Following the operation, United States Homeland Security banned all liquids and gels except baby formula and prescription medications in the name of the ticket holder in carry-on luggage on all flights.[71] The DHS level in the United States was raised to 'severe' (red) for all flights from the UK.[72] The terror level for all other domestic or non-British international flights to the United States was raised to High (orange).[72]

As of 13 August 2006, airline passengers in the United States could take up to 3.4 US fl oz (101 ml) of non-prescription medicine, glucose gel for diabetics, solid lipstick, and baby food aboard flights. The TSA also began demanding that passengers remove their shoes so they may be X-rayed before boarding.[73]

Eventually, it became that passengers are allowed only a certain amount of liquid aboard an aircraft in carry-on luggage. The restrictions do not apply to checked luggage. Liquids that measure 100 ml (3.5 imp fl oz; 3.4 US fl oz) or less are allowed, including aerosols. Another stipulation applies to the total size of each container (no larger than 3 oz), regardless of the total volume of the liquid.[74] TSA standards require all non-medical liquids of appropriate volume be confined to a quart-sized plastic bag, with only one such bag allowed per passenger. Any non-medical (also called exemptable) liquids that do not fit in the bag are not permitted. This means that if the plastic bag is full, any excess liquids cannot be taken in carry-on.[74] TSA officers are required to inform passengers of their options for excess liquids or liquids over the quantity limit. These are:

  • Return to the air carrier ticketing counter and place a luggage item with the liquids into checked luggage.[75]
  • Return the liquid(s) to the passenger's vehicle, if able.[76]
  • If a non-traveling companion is available, the liquids may be turned over to them, provided they are not entering the secured areas of the airport.
  • Surrender the liquid(s) to the TSA for disposal.[76] (Note: if a companion is accompanying the passenger to the boarding gate, the companion is not able to leave his or her liquids with the TSA for retrieval by the non-ticketed companion)

Effect[edit]

Overall, an estimated 400,000 passengers were affected because of the alerts. It has been estimated that the first day of delays cost the airlines over £175 million.[77]

As many as 20,000 bags are believed to have been misplaced at Heathrow.[78]

Flight cancellations on 10 August[edit]

All international inbound flights to London Heathrow Airport were cancelled on the day of the arrests, most notably the Thursday short-haul flights of British Airways. Some of the last international inbound flights to arrive, had landed at 7am and were immediately told to reclaim their baggage. Some flights to and from London Gatwick Airport were also suspended,[79] although US Airways flights continued flying normally from Gatwick according to the airline's helpline. Passengers (connecting flights and non-connecting flights) in London Heathrow were asked to collect their luggage and wait until further notice. Later on that evening, some flights had resumed. Shorter flights as far as Dublin, Ireland were resumed around 6pm. However, passengers boarding the plane were told they may only carry their boarding pass and passport. All of their belongings were to be stowed into carry-on luggage and checked in with the rest of their luggage.

Service resumption[edit]

Tents on the car park in front of terminal 4. Heathrow, 14 August. They were erected to give people a place to stay while waiting for their flight to depart

A few hours after the beginning of the confusion, aircraft began to fly out of London Heathrow, although not at the usual level of more than one per minute. The situation remained chaotic with huge queues of passengers waiting to check-in and get through the strengthened security procedures, and reports of some aircraft leaving Heathrow airport with only transit passengers aboard.

On Sunday 13 August, 30% of flights out of Heathrow were cancelled to reduce pressure on the screeners.[80] By 15 August flight cancellations had fallen to 47 flights at Heathrow, and 8 Ryanair flights from Stansted. It was reported by BA that 10,000 items of baggage belonging to their passengers had gone missing. It was anticipated that cancellations would reduce on 16 August, with 90% of flights expected to depart as scheduled.[81]

Controversy over the alert[edit]

On 12 August a public argument broke out between BAA, the operator of Heathrow and other airports, and British Airways, with Willie Walsh, BA's Chief Executive, accusing BAA of not being able to cope with the increased security and baggage checks. Ryanair also called on the British government to employ police and military reservists to speed up the full body searches which were now mandated.[82]

Three days later on 12 August 2006 the owner and operator of London Heathrow, BAA ordered airlines using the airport to make a 30 per cent reduction in departing passenger flights (something BA was already having to do as many passengers missed flights due to the extra time it took to clear security), to help reduce delays and cancellations.[83]

On 18 August Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary delivered an ultimatum to the British government demanding the resumption of normal hand baggage dimensions and hand screening one passenger in four instead of one in two within one week, otherwise Ryanair would sue the Government for compensation under section 93 of the Transport Act 2000. The government responded that the actions were taken under the Aviation Security Act 1982, and no compensation was payable.[84]

Several pilots have complained about the "ridiculous" luggage restrictions that was thought up by "utter morons".[85] Carolyn Evans, head of flight safety at the British Airline Pilots Association, said that "the procedures put in place are not sustainable long term, and unless the passengers are treated more reasonably we will not have an industry left".[85]

The British government was criticised for scare mongering for its response to the alert[86] and for using it to drive through unpopular reforms.[87]

Economic effects[edit]

The Times commented the day after the arrests, that the economic effects were minor and that the FTSE 100 index showed only "mild signs of strain", suggesting that terror was already priced into assets, that the market impact will be contained, and that "what is lost on the swings may be gained on the roundabouts". It observed that the real commercial risk is that "people's behaviour is altered... change may come so subtly and subconsciously that it is hard to see, let alone measure… people may stop travelling for example, not because they are scared of being blown up, but because they are tired of complying with necessary security measures."[88]

Estimates have also been made of the cost to airlines of their disrupted business. British Airways had to cancel 1280 flights, at a cost of £40 million.[89] Ryanair had to cancel 500 flights and sued the UK government for the £3.3 million the cancellations cost them.[90] EasyJet had to cancel 469 flights, at a cost of about £4 million.[91] BAA says the alert cost them £13 million.[92]

Air passengers also switched to other means of travel, including SeaFrance ferries operating from Dover to Calais, and Eurostar.[93]

BA considered making a claim for compensation against BAA, which operates Heathrow, for its failure to provide adequate security services and shortages of personnel during the crisis.[94] In November 2006, BA claimed the increased security measures since August had cost it £100 million.[95]

On 13 August 2006, Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, claimed that the chaos at airports meant that the terrorists were achieving their aims.[96] On 25 August 2006, O'Leary announced plans to sue the British Government over the disruption to his business.[97]

Trial[edit]

Following the August 2006 arrests, The New York Times blocked IP addresses in Britain from accessing a story titled "Details Emerge in British Terror Case." If a user in Britain tried to access the article, he or she was met with a disclaimer: "On advice of legal counsel, this article is unavailable to readers of nytimes.com in Britain. This arises from the requirement in British law that prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial." Using software technology designed for targeted advertising, The New York Times was able to comply with laws stricter than those in the United States.[98]

Eventually, only eight men (Ahmed Abdullah Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman, Umar Islam, Mohammed Gulzar) were charged in connection with the plot. The trial began in April 2008,[99] and the prosecution began with the exhibition of suicide videos[100] and the allegation that the suspects had bought chemicals.[101]

In their defence, the seven men, who had recorded videos denouncing Western foreign policy, said they had only planned to cause a political spectacle and not to kill anyone. Ahmed Ali told the court that he intended to make the political statement by letting off a small device at Heathrow and scaring people, and that the plot did not involve attacking planes.[102] All the accused, except for Mohammad Gulzar, admitted plotting to cause a public nuisance. Ali, Sarwar and Hussein also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions.[103]

On 8 November 2008 after more than 50 hours of deliberations, the jury did not find any of the defendants guilty of conspiring to target aircraft. The jury found Ali, Sarwar and Hussein guilty of conspiracy to murder charges but was unable to reach verdicts on charges relating to the alleged plot to blow up aircraft.[103]

Conviction and sentencing[edit]

On 7 September 2009, a second jury at Woolwich Crown Court found Ahmed Abdulla Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain guilty of "conspiracy to murder involving liquid bombs" and therefore that the target of the conspiracy were airline passengers.[104] The plot was said at court to have been discovered by MI5 using covert listening devices in a flat in east London. The jurors were unable to reach verdicts on those charges against Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman or Unmar Islam. Umar Islam was however convicted on a separate charge of conspiracy to murder.[105] Mohammad Gulzar was found not guilty on all counts.[106] Sarwar, 29, must serve at least 36 years, while Tanvir Hussain, 28, was jailed for at least 32 years at Woolwich Crown Court.[107]

In July 2010, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan and Waheed Zaman were found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to murder. They must serve a minimum of 20 years in prison before being eligible for release.

See also[edit]


References[edit]

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