British Muslim trio jailed for Pakistan terror training bid

25th April 2013, Comments 0 comments

Three British Muslims including a convert to Islam were jailed on Thursday for travelling to Pakistan for terror training.

White Muslim convert Richard Dart, a 30-year-old former security guard for the BBC, was sentenced to six years' imprisonment at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London.

Imran Mahmood, 22, was jailed for nine years and nine months and 26-year-old Jahangir Alom for four-and-a-half years.

Dart and Alom had admitted seeking terror training in Pakistan while Mahmood, who did join a Pakistani terror camp, gave them advice.

Judge Peregrine Simon told the trio they had "radical Islamist beliefs and have shown yourselves to be committed to acts of terrorism".

Dart refused to stand as he was sentenced, saying: "I believe ruling and judging is only for Allah."

The court heard that Dart and Mahmood discussed bomb-making and identified the southern English town of Royal Wootton Bassett -- where British soldiers killed in Afghanistan were repatriated until 2011 -- as a potential target.

"These are dangerous men," Stuart Osborne of Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command said in a statement after sentencing.

"Mahmood had received terrorist training in Pakistan and suggested he had knowledge of how to make homemade explosives while Dart and Alom made great efforts to travel to Pakistan and aspired to seek training from terrorist groups there."

The three men were arrested in July last year.

All of them had been stopped at airports at various points while travelling to and from Pakistan.

Traces of explosives were found on two of Mahmood's rucksacks when he was stopped at Manchester Airport in northwest England in 2010.

Dart and Alom travelled separately to Pakistan in July 2011, but returned to Britain the next month having failed to join terror training camps.

Dart once featured in a BBC documentary about his conversion to Islam and had changed his name to Salahuddin al-Britani.

The court heard that he and Mahmood communicated by typing into a document on Dart's laptop, in "silent conversations" designed to avoid surveillance.

They mistakenly believed that if they deleted the text it would not be stored on the computer, but forensic experts were able to retrieve the conversations.

"This was a prosecution that was based on the most high-tech and sophisticated evidence gathering available," said Mark Topping, a specialist counter-terrorism lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Dart and Mahmood were both given extended sentences, meaning they could be recalled to prison in the five years following the end of their time in jail.

Alom was a police community support officer and had also been in the Territorial Army volunteer reservists before he rejected mainstream society.

Dart, the son of teachers, was born in Dorset in southwest England. Mahmood was also born in Britain while Alom, a British citizen, was born in Bangladesh.

The case comes two months after another two British Muslim men who had travelled to Pakistan for terror training and a third who helped others to visit the country for the same purpose were found guilty of planning a string of bombings.

Western nations have for years urged Pakistan to clamp down on terror training camps in its lawless northwestern tribal belt on the Afghan border.

US drones have launched repeated attacks on Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets in the region, killing thousands of people.

© 2013 AFP

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