Irfan Naseer, the leader of a terrorist suicide bomb plot from Birmingham, England, was sentenced to life imprisonment on April 26, with several of his co-conspirators receiving lesser sentences.
Naseer, a British-born pharmacy graduate, learned his bomb-making skills in Pakistan and sent four of his followers there for training, reported the Independent, a British newspaper. However, another report said that the four sent to Pakistan had second thoughts after going there and dropped out of the plot.
An AFP report carried by Singapore-based AsiaOne stated that a total of 11 British Muslims were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London, with Naseer’s right-hand man, Irfan Khalid, sentenced to 18 years and co-conspirator, Ashik Ali, given a 15-year sentence. Khalid had boasted that the plot would be “another 9/11.” The group's chief financier Rahin Ahmed, was sentence to 12 years.
Seven other members of the terrorist cell were also sentenced, including Ashik Ali's older brother Bahader, who received six years, and Mohammed Rizwan and Mujahid Hussain, who were given four years each. The four who had traveled to Pakistan and then dropped out were given lighter sentences of 40 months after pleading guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts.
“Your plot had the blessing of al Qaeda and you intended to further the aims of al Qaeda,” Judge Richard Henriques told the plotters.
“The only barrier between [Naseer’s] team and mass murder was the intervention of the authorities.”
Henriques explained his reason for giving the heavier sentence to Nasser: “Irfan Naseer was the leader, driving force and man in charge and he alone must take responsibility for sending four young men to Pakistan for terrorism training.”
During the trial, reported AFP, it was revealed that the conspirators posed as street collectors for a Muslim charity and raised £12,000 ($18,500) to fund their plot. However, Rahin Ahmed lost £9,000 ($13,900) of that amount speculating in foreign currency markets.
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Photo is of passengers trapped in an underground train of the London bombings of July 7, 2005