11 Jun 2013

Rally bomb plotters sentenced to prison

2:56 pm on 11 June 2013

Six men have been sentenced to prison by a court in London for planning to bomb a right wing rally last year.

They had planned to attack a rally by the English Defence League, a group which opposes the spread of radical Islam.

Omar Khan, Jewel Uddin, Mohammed Hasseen, Mohammed Saud, Zohaib Ahmed and Anzal Hussain all admitted terrorism offences in April.

Five of them took a bomb, knives and sawn-off shotguns to rally in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire on 30 June last year.

But the BBC reports they arrived two hours after the event had ended.

The men, who all lived in or near Birmingham, were caught by chance after their car was stopped by police on the M1 after the rally and found to have no insurance.

The car was taken to a pound where the weapons were discovered two days later.

The arsenal included: two shotguns, swords, knives, a nail bomb containing more than 400 pieces of shrapnel, and a partially-assembled pipe bomb.

At the Old Bailey on Monday, Khan, Uddin and Ahmed were sentenced to prison for 19½ years, with a five-year extension on licence.

Hasseen, Hussain and Saud were jailed for 18 years and nine months, with a five-year extension on licence.

He said the men had been influenced by what he described as a "tide of apparently freely available extremist material".

"You intended to ... cause serious injuries and you anticipated that some victims may have died," Judge Nicholas Hilliard said.

If the attack had succeeded, it could have sparked "a spiral of tit-for-tat violence".

The BBC reports all six received a reduction of a quarter in their jail terms for pleading guilty before a trial had been due to start.

EDL leader Tommy Robinson and his deputy Kevin Carroll called out "God save the Queen" from the public gallery as sentence was passed.

Sobs could be heard from other observers, and shouts of " Allahu Akbar" - "God is great" in Arabic.