Hackney man jailed for life over aeroplane terror plot

Ibrahim Savant in the suicide video he made as part of the plot. Photo: Metropolitan Police

A Hackney man was one of three aspiring terrorists sentenced to life in prison today for their part in a plot to blow up transatlantic aeroplanes.

Ibrahim Savant, 29, from Stoke Newington, was found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court last Thursday of conspiracy to murder persons unknown, alongside associates Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman. The men will each serve a minimum of 20 years in jail.

As part of their preparations to commit terrorist attacks, Savant and his co-conspirators recorded suicide videos, in which they described their religious motivations and issued threats against the public.

Speaking in his video, Savant described his intention to ‘sacrifice’ his life in the attack on ‘the enemies of Islam’ ‘to fulfil a covenant and promise with Allah the almighty.’

The trio, originally arrested in 2006, were involved in a wider terror plot which has been the subject of one of the Metropolitan Police’s largest ever investigations, Operation Overt.

It was the arrest of the plotters, who aimed to bring down a number of planes flying from London, that led to widespread restrictions on bottles and liquids being carried on aircraft.

Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, described by police as the ‘ringleaders of the plot,’ were found guilty last year of plotting to blow up aircraft with liquid bombs.

During an earlier trial in 2008, Savant, Khan and Zaman claimed that their videos were spoofs, and pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance.

However, additional evidence showed that the group had made other preparations to carry out the planned attacks, including applying for new passports and bank loans.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, the senior national counter-terrorism co-ordinator at Scotland Yard said: “These three men claimed they recorded their martyrdom videos as part of a documentary, however when presented with all the evidence, the jury was satisfied that they were deadly serious in their intent and were party to the conspiracy to murder.”

“The martyrdom videos; the instructions left for media to use them; the fresh passport applications; the loan applications and the forensic and surveillance links to Ali, Sarwar and the bomb factory all add up to a clear picture of intent.”

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