Sun, Apr 24, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Britain's `shoe bomber' handed 13-year sentence

THE GUARDIAN , London

A Muslim who became radicalized by the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia, and then planned to explode a shoe bomb aboard a passenger plane, was on Friday sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment.

Saajid Badat was told he would have faced a 50-year sentence, but Justice Fulford gave him credit for pulling out of the plot, renouncing terrorism and pleading guilty.

Badat, 25, admitted to conspiring to explode the shoe bomb in mid-air aboard a plane bound for the US.

At his sentencing at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London Friday, new details emerged of the plot in which Badat and the failed shoe bomber Richard Reid were to have exploded their devices on planes simultaneously in December 2001, three months after the al-Qaeda attacks on the US.

Reid was overpowered on Dec. 22 2001 as he was spotted trying to light a cord coming from his shoe on a plane bound for Miami.

Badat is the first Briton convicted in this country of plotting mass murder since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

He spent two years in camps in Afghanistan, and after leaving to travel around Europe, he returned to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks and was recruited for the plot by Abu Hafs.

Justice Fulford said Badat had conspired to kill hundreds of people in a plot that would also have "shattered" the lives of thousands of their friends and loved ones, and caused huge economic damage and "widespread fear and panic."

Balanced against this was Badat's decision to drop out of the plot and his subsequent cooperation with the police. The judge said it was in the public interest that "if a would-be terrorist turns away from death and destruction before any lives are put at risk," the courts would pass a lower sentence.

Sentencing rules mean that Badat will receive a reduction of one-third on the term imposed on him for pleading guilty at the first reasonable opportunity. He could be considered for parole in just over five years' time.

But he has been indicted on seven counts of terrorism in the US for the same plot, though the Americans have yet to formally request his extradition.

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