Man jailed for funding Stockholm suicide bomber

 

An Algerian man convicted of funding a suicide bomb attack in Stockholm was jailed for seven years by a Scottish court yesterday.

Nasserdine Menni, who had used a false identity to claim asylum in the UK, sent £5,725 to bankroll the attack on the Swedish capital in December 2010.

The Iraqi-born bomber Taimour Abdulwahab died in the blast after detonating his explosive vest near the busy shopping street of Drottninggatan in the run-up to Christmas. Two devices strapped to his body initially failed to explode, preventing almost certain carnage in the crowded area.

Minutes earlier he had set alight an Audi car packed with gas canisters, hoping to send shoppers fleeing into his path. Two people were injured slightly in the fire but the vehicle failed to explode.

It was after retreating up a side street and attempting to fix the faulty trigger attached to his suicide vest that one of the devices went off, killing Abdulwahab instantly.

Sentence was passed amid tight security at Glasgow High Court where another charge of conspiracy to murder members of the Swedish public had been found not proven at the end of a 12-week trial.

Judge Lord Matthews said: "Funding provides assistance for those who would carry out terrorist acts. The sentencing of the court must reflect the potential use. Lawyers for Menni, who now faces expulsion from Britain, said he intended to appeal against his conviction.

The two men had become friends while living in Luton in 2005.

The link was discovered following a joint investigation by the FBI, the Swedish police and the French authorities.

The trial heard that Menni used money accrued through benefits and from working to send to a bank account held by Abdulwahab over a period of six years.

He used a series of false identities, eventually seeking asylum in Liverpool, where he claimed to be a Kuwaiti citizen. Menni, who later moved to Glasgow, denied knowing the money would be used for terrorism, insisting it was intended to pass on to his family in Algeria.

But the prosecution said he was a fellow extremist who approved of the plan to kill innocent shoppers. Some of the money was earmarked for Abdulwahab's widow while the rest was used to fund travel and the purchase of the car.

Menni was also convicted of immigration and benefit fraud and ordered to serve 30 months to run concurrently with the other sentence.