British terror suspects seized in Yemen

YEMENI SECURITY forces arrested three more Britons yesterday, one of whom is the son of Abu Hamza al-Masri, the militant Islamic cleric from Finsbury Park. The Interior Ministry claimed that the three were linked to the five other Britons and one Algerian, whose trial on charges of planning a bombing campaign in the city opened yesterday.

The government said the three men were among six fugitives who had been hunted down and surrounded in the Shabwa mountains in eastern Yemen on Tuesday.

They finally surrendered to security forces yesterday in a dramatic development that coincided almost precisely with the opening of the trial.

The government alleged that the new detainees belong to the same group as the five Britons and one Algerian in court. Of the other people detained yesterday, two were Algerian and one Yemeni. The two other Britons were named by Yemeni authorities as Shaz Nabi and Ayyad Hussein.

The Yemeni government has been searching the country for Mohammed Mustapha Kamil, Mr Masri's 17-year-old son, ever since the British group was arrested in Aden last month. Yemen is demanding the extradition of Mr Masri from Britain on terrorism charges, seeing him as the mastermind behind a plot to bomb hotels, a church and the British consulate in Aden.

It also believes that Mr Masri was involved in the kidnap of 16 foreign tourists in Yemen last month, which led to the killing of three Britons and an Australian.

The trial opened with raucous courtroom scenes in which the accused shouted that they had been repeatedly tortured after their arrest in two downtown hotels in Aden on 24 December. "They have been treating us like animals," shouted Samad Ahmed, a 21-year-old student from Kingston University, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt to show dark bruises on both arms as he entered the dock. "Like animals," he repeated.

He and the other four Britons - Ghulam Hussein, 25, Mohsin Ghalain, 18, Shahid Butt, 33, and Malik Nasser Harhra, 26, - along with James Patrick Luovres, 30, an Algerian living in France, held an impromptu press conference with reporters in the moments before the judge entered the courtroom overlooking Aden's seashore.

Mr Ghalain, a student living in Shepherd's Bush, said: "For the first five days they wouldn't let us sleep. They battered us until we woke up." He said he was sexually abused. Mr Luovres, who sought political asylum from Algeria in France, said: "They made me sit on a bottle of Coca-Cola."

All the men looked apprehensive, but contemptuous of the proceedings as the prosecutor read out the charges in Arabic, which were haltingly rendered into English by an elderly translator. Of the Britons, only Mr Harhra, a student at London University, said he spoke some Arabic, but not very well. When the other defendants looked perplexed as the translator stumbled over a word, Mr Harhra grimaced and told them: "They just said we could be executed."

Before the trial was adjourned for three days so that the defence could consider the detailed charges, the prosecution said its case rested on the confessions of the accused, explosives found in their possession and three Yemeni witnesses. The accused all pleaded not guilty and said that their confessions had been extracted under torture.

Before the beginning of the trial an official entered the court carrying four hold-alls. From these he took five large, brown-coloured Russian- made plastic anti-tank mines, slabs of TNT with fuses, as well as computers and mobile phones which he placed neatly on a table in front of the judge.

The prosecution case is that Mr Harhra, who is of Yemeni origin, first entered Yemen last July to arrange for the others to follow him in December. They did so on 19 December and checked into the al-Wafa Hotel, in Aden before moving to a villa. They then travelled to Shabwa province east of Aden for military training. Later Mr Ghalain and Mr Harhra met Abu Hassan, the leader of the group which later kidnapped the tourists, and were given military equipment by him.

The prosecution also charged the men with belonging to Mr Masri's group, the Supporters of the Sharia, "which exports terrorism to other countries". The defence lawyer Badr Basunaid immediately protested, saying: "Abu Hamza is not on trial. He is nothing to do with this case."

After the charges were read all the defendants stood up to deny them. As the men were led out of the dock down a narrow stairs they shouted "bogus charges" and "kangaroo court". The judge said they should be examined by a doctor, moved to another prison and could see their families.

The Yemeni government is suspicious of the fact that one of the defendants, Mohsin Ghalain, is Mr Masri's stepson, and a second defendant, Mr Luovres is engaged to Mr Masri's sister-in-law Suzanne.

Together with Mr Masri's son who was arrested yesterday, three of the eight British prisoners now being held in Yemen have a family link to the controversial cleric.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Sales, Milton Keynes

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Bristol

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Birmingham

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Head of Sales, Manchester

£70 - 90K OTE £125K. Plus Car,Private Healthcare and Pension: Charter Selectio...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game