Five men remanded on terrorism charges return to court this week

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The Independent Online

Five British men suspected of plotting a bombing campaign appeared in court yesterday on terrorism and explosives charges.

Five British men suspected of plotting a bombing campaign appeared in court yesterday on terrorism and explosives charges.

Anthony Garcia, 21, Omar Khyam, 22, Nabeel Hussain, 19, Jawad Akbar, 20, and Waheed Mahmoud, 32, appeared in connection with the seizure of more than half a ton of potentially explosive fertiliser.

All five, who spoke only to confirm their names during an appearance at London's high-security Belmarsh Magistrates Court, were ordered to be detained until their next court hearing on Thursday.

A French national made a separate appearance yesterday at the same court, charged with possessing documents linked to terrorism. Jacques Karim Abi-Ayad, aged 39 and from Ipswich in Suffolk, has been charged under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 with having "documents likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing to commit" terrorist acts.

Standing with his head bowed in the glass-fronted dock, Mr Abi-Ayad spoke only to confirm his name and address. He was remanded to appear at Bow Street Magistrates Court on 16 April.

The first five men who appeared in court were among eight arrested on 30 March during anti-terrorist raids across south-east England in which police seized 600kg of ammonium nitrate fertiliser from a self-storage warehouse. A ninth man was arrested two days later.

The raids, involving 700 police officers, were part of one of the largest anti-terrorist operations in Britain in years. The recovery of the ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser frequently used in bombs, was the biggest seizure of potential bomb-making material in England since the Irish Republican Army called a cease-fire in 1997.

Mr Garcia, Mr Khyam and Mr Hussain were charged under anti-terrorism legislation with possessing the fertiliser for possible use in "the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism". Mr Garcia and Mr Khyam were also charged with conspiracy to cause explosions, along with Mr Akbar and Mr Mahmoud.

A 17-year-old man arrested at the same time as the five was charged last week with conspiracy to cause explosions and is being held in custody. Three others have been bailed pending further inquiries into non-terrorist offences.