Shoe bomber Saajid Badat has jail sentence cut

 

A would-be shoe bomber has become the first terrorist in the UK to have his sentence cut after agreeing to co-operate with prosecutors and give evidence against defendants in a US terror trial.

Saajid Muhammad Badat had his 13 year sentence cut to 11 after the agreement with prosecutors, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Badat was jailed in 2005 after he admitted plotting to explode a shoebomb on a transatlantic flight in December 2001 at the same time as fellow shoebomber Richard Reid, but changed his mind and decided not to go through with it.

Sue Hemming, head of the CPS special crime and counter terrorism division, said the agreement had not been entered into lightly.

It will see Badat give evidence in the US trial, which opens in Brooklyn today, of Adis Medunjanin over an al Qaida plot to bomb the New York subway.

"We considered very carefully the merits of entering into this agreement with a convicted terrorist, and we believe that the administration of justice internationally benefits from such an agreement," she said.

"This trial is the first time a UK convicted terrorist has agreed, under the terms of our agreement, to give evidence in the United States.

"Badat has helped with investigations in this country, he continues to co-operate and has agreed to testify in other trials if called upon."

Ms Hemming added that Badat "fully co-operated with investigators" at Scotland Yard and in the FBI while in prison and "provided information of overwhelming importance in relation to investigations they were conducting".

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, the senior national co-ordinator for counter terrorism said: "This case is an example where the Socpa (Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005) legislation has secured substantial and significant evidence and intelligence relating to investigations undertaken by the counter terrorism command which has also assisted law enforcement agencies in other countries."

Badat's sentence was reduced to 11 years on November 13 2009, but an order banning reporting of the deal was put in place, for Badat's safety, until he was due to give evidence in public, the CPS said. It has now been lifted.

When Badat was jailed in April 2005, a judge said he had to be given credit for turning his back on terrorism.

Mr Justice Fulford said Badat could have been facing a term of more than 50 years if he had gone ahead with the plan to blow up a passenger jet.

But he added: "It would not be in the public interest to send out a message that if would-be terrorists turn away from death and destruction before any lives are put at risk, the courts will not reflect in a significant and real way any such genuine change of heart in the sentence which is handed down."

Badat, 33, of Gloucester, had admitted plotting to explode a shoebomb on a transatlantic flight in December 2001 at the same time as fellow shoebomber Richard Reid.

But the court was told he could not face being a "courier of death" and rejected terrorism.

The dismantled device was found in two suitcases at Badat's family home two years later in November 2003 when he was arrested.

It was found to be identical to Reid's shoebomb, which he failed to ignite mid-air, and he was later jailed for life in America.

Badat admitted training in Afghanistan where he had been recruited and given the shoebomb before returning to Amsterdam at the same time as Reid.

But Badat returned to the UK - still wearing the shoebomb on his feet - and never flew to the US.

He dismantled the device and emailed his handlers saying he had pulled out.

PA

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