Yemen frees three of the eight convicted `bomb-plot' Britons

THREE BRITISH Muslims convicted of an alleged bombing plot in Yemen have been released and told they are free to return home.

The men are among 10 Muslims, eight of whom are British, who were found guilty last month of forming a terrorist group and planning sabotage activities in the Arab state.

"They were given their freedom today and they are expected to leave the country within the next few days," said David Pearce, the British consul-general in Aden, who collected them from prison yesterday morning.

Said al-Aqel, the chief prosecutor in Aden, confirmed the release and said the men were free to leave Yemen whenever they wanted. "We handed them their passports in the presence of the British consul- general and their lawyer," he said, adding that he thought they might leave on Friday.

Rashad Yaqoob, a defence lawyer from the human rights organisation, the Legal Studies Institute, said: "I am relieved in terms of securing what was legally correct for three of them ... The fight goes on to get the other five out."

Seven of the suspects were sentenced on 9 August to prison terms ranging between three and seven years. The three released yesterday - Shahzad Nabi, 20, Ayaz Hussein, 26, both from Birmingham, and Ghulam Hussein, 25, from Luton in Bedfordshire - had been sentenced to time served. Ghulam Hussein was released earlier because he was ill, but was ordered to stay in the country until the trial.

On Saturday, a Yemeni court rejected appeals against the convictions from both the prosecution and defence, saying they had been filed after the legal time period had expired. But the judge also ruled that the two men who had been sentenced to time served and were still in jail should be released. The remaining men now have 40 days to appeal against this latest ruling to the Supreme Court.

The 10 men, all of Pakistani or Arab origin, were arrested after last December's kidnapping of 16 Western tourists in Yemen, an incident in which four of the tourists were killed during a rescue attempt by Yemeni troops. All maintained their innocence and said that they had been tortured into giving false confessions.

The men were alleged to have been sent to Yemen by Abu Hamza, a radical cleric based in London, and to have linked up with the Islamic militant Zen al-Abidine al-Mihdar, who was sentenced to death in May for his part in the kidnapping of the Western tourists.

Hamza's 17-year-old son Mohamed Kamel received three years. Malek Nasser, 26, from Birmingham, and Londoner Mohsen Gailan, 18, the stepson of Abu Hamza, both received seven years. Shahid Butt, 33, and Sarmad Ahmed, 21, both from Birmingham, were jailed for five years.

Prosecutors claimed a cache of weapons and communications equipment was discovered in their possession. The defendants said they had gone to Yemen to improve their Arabic and study the Koran.

Ghulam Hussein's twin sister, Nasreen, said last night: "I am very happy that he is coming home. I am waiting for his phone call. Things have changed so much through all this, first it is one thing, then something else, that I won't really believe it until he is here."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent