Thursday, August 24, 2006

Further charges made in terror plot

Umair Hussain, 24, latest to be charged in terror plot

Police have been given more time to question a number of suspects held over a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights. And early this evening another of those held was charged. Eleven other suspects already charged in connection with the plot appeared in court on Tuesday. Those proceedings at Westminster magistrates court began with each suspect entering the court dressed in prison issue sweat shirt and tracksuit bottoms. Each spoke only to confirm their names. Eight were charged with conspiracy to murder and were named as Ahmed Abdullah Ali, 25, Arafat Waheed Khan, 25, Osman Adam Khatib, 19, Assad Ali Sarwar, 26, Umar Islam [aka - Brian Young], 28, Ibrahim Savant, 25, Waheed Zaman, 22, Tanvir Hussain, 25. In addition, Cossar Ali, 23, wife of Ahmed Abdullah Ali, and Mehran Hussain, 23, were charged with failing to disclose information. An un-named 17 year old appeared charged with preparing for acts of Terrorism [Charges in Full]. No applications for bail were made and no pleas were made, though it is expected that they will plead not guilty. Tanvir Hussain’s lawyer, Mohammad Zeb, told the court that his client denied all the allegations. The eight charged with conspiracy to murder will reappear on 4th September. The other three will appear on the 29th August. Of the remaining suspects, two have been released without charge [BBC] and 9 remain in police custody and until today had yet to be charged. But at 17:45 GMT Sky News broke with the news that Umair Hussain, 24, had been charged with failure to disclose information. His solicitor said he was "extremely disappointed". More will be published as soon as the information is available. One of those released is Tayib Rauf whose brother, Rashib, remains in custody in Pakistan [BBC]. The coverage of the story has gradually dwindled in the media. The Times and Daily Telegraph in the UK both ran the story on their front pages but many other papers pushed the story deep inside. The increased security measures, put in place after the terror plot was made public, remain [BBC]. And although baggage restrictions have been made less restrictive, the government has ignored calls to reduce the measures further. The ban on hand luggage over a certain size has affected many travellers. Musicians have been particularly hard hit. The BBC World Service reported yesterday that the ban on cellists and violinists taking their instruments on board has resulted in a loss of employment and even threats of legal action where previously booked commitments are unable to be made. One New York orchestra has already cancelled a trip to Edinburgh concert and an appearance at the BBC Proms [BBC]. Advice for those not travelling to the US was to go to Paris via Eurostar and to take flights from there. But for many soloists travelling to the US, the outlook was bleak. Musicians are often unwilling to be parted from their fragile equipment, and leaving such items in the hold would leave it open to damage. The airlines usually offer only around £12 per Kg in compensation and many insurance companies refuse to cover baggage carried in the hold. Other professionals have also been affected including photographers and others carrying expensive and equipment. Posted by Picasa

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