Doctor convicted of withholding information in failed terror attack on Scottish airport
By DAVID STRINGER
Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) — A British court sentenced an Indian doctor Friday to 18 months in prison for withholding information about last year’s botched terrorist attack on crowded airport in Scotland.
Sabeel Ahmed, 26, pleaded guilty to receiving an e-mail about the mission from his older brother Kafeel Ahmed two days before he attempted to ram a jeep into Glasgow’s airport — although the younger brother did not read the e-mail until the evening after the attack took place.
In the message, Kafeel Ahmed wrote: "This is the project that I was working on for some time now. Everything else was a lie."
"It’s about time that we give up our lives and our families for the sake of Islam to please Allah."
Since Sabeel Ahmed has already served half his sentence and agreed to leave Britain, he was being released late Friday from jail to be deported back to India, Judge David Calvert-Smith said.
An explosive-laden Jeep was halted only yards from airline passengers at Glasgow airport on June 30, 2007, when Kafeel Ahmed and another man attempted an attack as part of a botched plot to bomb a London nightclub and the Scottish airport.
The two men set the vehicle on fire, tried to hurl petrol bombs and repeatedly attempted to ram their way into an airport terminal, prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw said in London’s Old Bailey courthouse.
"Despite his efforts, the vehicle became trapped," he told the court. "Those who witnessed him described a set and determined face as he stared forward."
The jeep’s passenger threw a petrol bomb toward a taxi stand as the driver "began to pour and splash fuel from a can onto the area outside the car window," Laidlaw said.
The driver "got out of the vehicle and was engulfed in flames that swept around the Jeep and terminal building," he said.
Their attack caused panic within the terminal, and some vacationers suffered minor injuries as passengers fled and ran through the building.
Ahmed later died from severe burns.
Two other men, including Ahmed’s alleged passenger Bilal Abdullah and Jordanian doctor Mohammed Asha, are scheduled to go on trial over the attacks later this year.
A day before the bungled attack in Glasgow, two Mercedes cars packed with gas canisters were discovered in London’s entertainment district, prompting the evacuation of about 500 people from a nightclub.
Laidlaw said the men attempted the attack at Glasgow’s airport after their plot to bomb London failed.
The attacks came in the week British Prime Minister Gordon Brown took office, replacing Tony Blair as leader.
Kafeel sent his brother sent cell phone text and e-mail messages between the London and Glasgow attacks, which included suggestions on how to mislead investigators in the aftermath of the planned strike, Laidlaw said.