Five in court on terror charges

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The Independent Online

A 36-year-old man appeared in court today accused of planning to kidnap and kill a British soldier.

Parviz Khan appeared amid tight security at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London alongside four other men accused of offences under anti-terrorism laws.

Khan, arrested in a series of raids in Birmingham on January 31, is charged with an offence under section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

He is accused between November 1 2006 and 31 January 2007 of engaging in conduct "to give effect to his intention to kidnap and kill a member of the British Armed Forces".

Wearing a blue sweatshirt and with a long beard, Khan spoke only to give his date of birth during the short hearing.

Flanked in the dock by eight security guards, he and the other defendants listened intently as Patrick Stevens, prosecuting, read out brief details of the charges they faced.

Khan and the other four - Amjad Mahmood, Mohammed Irfan, Zahoor Iqbal and Hamid Elasmar - are all charged with two offences each.

One is under section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006 and the other under section 17 the Terrorism Act 2000.

The first alleges that between March 30 2006 and January 31 2007 they engaged in conduct to give effect to an intention to supply equipment for use in committing acts of terrorism.

The second charge states that between the same dates they entered into or became concerned in a funding arrangement that they knew or had cause to suspect "may be used for the purposes of terrorism".

Khan then also faces the charge alleging the kidnap plot while 31-year-old Mahmood is also accused of failing to disclose information which might have been of "material assistance" in preventing the alleged plot.

Khan, Mahmood - also dressed in a blue sweatshirt - and 43-year-old Elasmar - who had a greying-beard and wore a stripy jumper - did not apply for bail.

Imran Khan, representing Iqbal, 29, did make a bail application on behalf of his client but it was refused by District Judge Daphne Wickham.

Iqbal, who repeatedly smiled to an Asian woman in the public gallery during the hearing, and 30-year-old Irfan - whose bail application was withdrawn - were then also remanded in custody.

All five men are now due to appear at the Old Bailey on February 23.

This afternoon's hearing came after the five men were driven to the court from the Midlands in a high-security police convoy.

The van carrying the men arrived at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court flanked by five police cars.

Armed police then stood guard next to the entrance to the court's parking area as the van was slowly moved inside the building.

Three other men have been released without charge following the Birmingham raids, while another man remains in custody at Coventry's Chace Avenue police station.