(AFP) – Jul 23, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Five men jailed last year for plotting an Al-Qaeda-linked bombing campaign lost an appeal against their convictions Wednesday.
Omar Khyam, Waheed Mahmood, Jawad Akbar, Anthony Garcia and Salahuddin Amin were found guilty last April and jailed for a minimum of between 35 and 40 years for plotting to cause "indiscriminate death and suffering."
On Wednesday three judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected their bid to overturn the convictions, based on criticism of the judge's handling of the original trial, including his summing up to the jury.
"The many and varied criticisms of the summing-up are unfounded," said Igor Judge, one of the three judges hearing the appeal.
"The single error of omission for which the summing-up can fairly be criticised was immaterial to the safety of the convictions, and examined in the overall context of the task which he faced, it was trivial," he added.
In the country's biggest-ever terror trial, the five were convicted last year of conspiring to bomb a central London nightclub and shopping centre, as well as hit gas and electricity supplies, using chemical fertilizer to make explosives.
One of the five also discussed trying to buy a radioactive "dirty bomb" from the Russian mafia to be "bigger than 9/11", but nothing appeared to have come from his enquiries, the trial was told.
After the original trial the head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism unit, Peter Clarke, said he had "no doubt that there are clear links (from the plotters) straight into Al-Qaeda."
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