Terror gang's sentences weren't long enough, says councillor

Issue 587

SENTENCES handed to six terrorists who plotted a bomb attack on Dewsbury are not long enough, a top councillor has claimed.

Tory leader Coun Robert Robert (Birstall and Birkenshaw) believes the men should have been given life terms with no chance of parole.

He spoke out after they were jailed on Monday for planning to blow up an English Defence League rally in Dewsbury town centre last June.

Omar Khan, 28, Mohammed Saud, 23, Jewel Uddin, 27, Zohaib Ahmed, 22, and Anzal Hussain, 25, admitted planning an act of terrorism.

Mohammed Hasseen, 23, pleaded guilty to the same offence and possessing information useful in the preparation of terrorism.

Khan, Uddin and Ahmed were each sentenced to 19-and-a-half years in jail with a five-year extension on licence on Monday.

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

The gang, all from the West Midlands, will have to serve two-thirds of their sentences before being eligible for parole.

Coun Light said: “The sentences are too soft. It should’ve been life without parole. They plotted to bring death and destruction to Dewsbury.”

He added the authorities in charge of the internet need to get a grip on the amount of extremist material available online.

Coun Light also called on the Tory-led coalition government to bring forward controversial plans for the routine surveillance of all internet activity.

He said: “I think the balance on that issue, in terms of civil liberties, is wrong. We’re tying the hands of the people meant to protect us.

“The system failed in the case of those horrific events in Woolwich. We can’t afford failures with it comes to dealing with extremism.”

Shoppers hit

Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan (Lab) believes the terrorists would have hurt or killed mostly shoppers had they succeeded.

The protest was outside the town hall, with police separating it from shoppers on Longcauseway and Market Place.

Coun Khan said: “With the way the police and the council handled the EDL rally, the bombers wouldn’t have got near them.

“It raises the frightening prospect that they would have had to put their bomb in a shopping precinct.”

Coun Khan, who monitored events that day from a town centre office block, welcomed their long jail terms.

Fellow Labour councillor Coun Masood Ahmed (Dewsbury South) was also there that day and condemned the six plotters.

He said: “What they were planning to do would’ve brought mass destruction to the streets of Dewsbury.

“They didn’t care who got in their way, whether it was shoppers or children in buggies with their mums, and the sentences reflect that.”

Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell (Con), another high-profile figure who was there, said: “What these men had planned can never have any political or religious justification.

“I hope the verdict sends a message to extremists – whatever their so-called cause, this behaviour will not be tolerated on the streets of Britain.”

Lib Dem leader Coun Kath Pinnock (Cleckheaton) said: “The vast majority of people want to live peacefully.

“Extremists of all kinds who go against that by plotting to bring violence to our streets deserve to feel the full force of the law.”

The Kirklees Imams and Mosques Advisory Board were asked to comment but had not responded by our deadline.

Counter-terrorism detectives admitted they knew nothing about the terror plot as the gang headed for Dewsbury.

Tragedy was only averted because the EDL demo ended early, with the gang arriving in Dewsbury after it had finished.

Uddin was though was under ‘low-level’ surveillance due to a connection to a separate plot to mount an attack rivalling the 7/7 London bombings.

Police said there was not enough evidence against him to justify his arrest in relation to that case.

Another defendant, Hussain, is the brother of Ishaaq Hussain, one of those convicted in April in the same Birmingham-based plot.

A third, Ahmed, had served a prison sentence after being convicted of possession of terrorist material from the internet.

The planned atrocity was uncovered when traffic police stopped Uddin and Khan on the M1 as they travelled home to Birmingham.

Their Renault Laguna was uninsured so the car was impounded. Two days later staff at the pound near Sheffield found an arsenal of weapons.

The car also contained 10 copies of a hate-fuelled message referring to Prime Minister David Cameron and the Queen.

West Midlands assistant chief constable Marcus Beale refused to accept criticism of his force’s role in the saga.

He said: “There has been some comment that we were surveilling one of the individuals on the Thursday beforehand.

“That individual was observed going into a hardware shop to buy kitchen knives that you or I can buy freely at any time.

“Quite where the crystal ball is that can say the purchase of those knives means that two days later they were going to attack the EDL I don’t know.”

The Kirklees Imams and Mosques Advisory Board were asked to comment but had not responded by our deadline.

Counter-terrorism detectives admitted they knew nothing about the terror plot as the gang headed for Dewsbury.

Uddin was under ‘low-level’ surveillance due to a connection to a separate plot to mount an attack rivalling the 7/7 London bombings.

Police said there was not enough evidence against him to justify his arrest in relation to that case.

Another defendant, Hussain, is the brother of Ishaaq Hussain, one of those convicted in April in the same Birmingham-based plot.

A third, Ahmed, had served a prison sentence after being convicted of possession of terrorist material from the internet.

The planned atrocity was uncovered when traffic police stopped Uddin and Khan on the M1 as they travelled home to Birmingham.

Their Renault Laguna was uninsured so the car was impounded. Two days later staff at the pound near Sheffield found an arsenal of weapons.

The car also contained 10 copies of a hate-fuelled message referring to Prime Minister David Cameron and the Queen.

West Midlands assistant chief constable Marcus Beale refused to accept criticism of his force’s role in the saga.

He said: “There has been some comment that we were surveilling one of the individuals on the Thursday beforehand.

“That individual was observed going into a hardware shop to buy kitchen knives that you or I can buy freely at any time.

“Quite where the crystal ball is that can say the purchase of those knives means that two days later they were going to attack the EDL I don’t know.”

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