Ringleader Of 11 Man UK Terrorist Cell Which Plotted Suicide Bombings Given Life In Prison
April 26, 2013
Bomb plot ringleader Irfan Naseer jailed for life and warned by judge: 'reject terror or you'll never be freed'
26 April 2013
A master bombmaker trained by al Qaeda was handed five life sentences today and told he may never be released unless he gives up extremism.
Irfan Naseer, 31, was a ringleader of a terror cell that planned an attack "worse than 7/7". He was one of 11 Islamist extremists being sentenced at Woolwich crown court for preparing acts of terrorism. Naseer plotted a campaign of suicide attacks involving at least eight rucksack bombs to be detonated in crowded places.
Police have called it the most significant terror threat since the 2006 transatlantic bomb plot.
The chemistry graduate from Birmingham used his skills to become a bombmaker and explosives expert. He travelled with fellow ringleader Irfan Khalid to Pakistan for terrorist training and met at least one extremely high-ranking al Qaeda operative.
Sentencing Naseer, Mr Justice Henriques described him as "dangerous, devious and highly manipulative."
The judge sentenced him to a life term on each of the five charges of preparing acts of terrorism. A jury had found him guilty earlier this year on a unanimous verdict.
Mr Justice Henriques said he must serve a minimum 18 years but added: "You must not expect to be released at that time. Your release will be considered by the Parole Board and may not be until many years later, particularly if you continue to pursue your present ideals."
Naseer's "beliefs were at the far end of extreme," the judge added. "Naseer was the leader, driving force and the man in charge and must take sole responsibility for sending four other young men to Pakistan for training in terrorism.
"Nothing was going to stop you short of intervention by the authorities. You planned mass murder."
The court heard that Naseer and his gang were planning "another 9/11" and their plot had been "blessed" by the al Qaeda leadership.
Apart from learning bombmaking at the terrorist training camp, he was taught to use a rocket launcher, other weapons, and poison, and learned fieldcraft.
The court also heard how he duped Muslims in Birmingham into donating up to £39,000 which they believed would be going to the Muslim Aid charity, but was instead spent on terrorism.
Naseer was born in Britain and took a pharmacy degree at Aston University before devoting himself to terrorism.
He had been heavily influenced by Anwar Al-Awlaki, the Yemen-based cleric and terrorist leader who was killed by a US drone in September 2011.
After his training in Pakistan, he "returned as a highly trained, skilful terrorist and a highly skilled bomb maker," said the judge.
The court heard Naseer agreed with Khalid that the intended bombing campaign would be carried out "in revenge for everything — what we are doing is another 9/11." Khalid, 28, went on to say that "people are going to be killed, it is going to be a war zone."
The bombs were intended to weigh a minimum 5kg, and cause such devastation that the terrorists expected the anniversary of the attack to be remembered for ever more.
At one point, an MI5 bug planted in the terrorists' car picked up Khalid mimicking Murray Walker, the Formula 1 commentator, and shouting: "It's the four suicide bombers driving around ready to take on England."
Khalid was sentenced to 18 years in jail, and a third member of the Birmingham cell, Ashik Ali, 28, was jailed for 15 years, after being found guilty on terror charges.
Eight other members of the terror gang will be sentenced later.