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Diasporian News of Monday, 15 January 2007

Source: BBC/Wikipidia/GHP

Asiedu : "The Suicide Bomber" On Trial

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London, UK -- Six men - one with a typical Ghanaian name - have gone on trial charged with plotting to murder passengers on London's transport system on July 7 2005.

They are accused of plotting to bomb a bus and three tube trains two weeks after 52 people died in bombings on public transport in the city.

Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, Muktar Ibrahim, Hussein Osman, Yassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Adel Yahya - all originally from Africa - deny conspiracy to murder.

Ghanaian "Suicide Bomber"?
Kwaku Asiedu, was charged on 7 August 2005, with conspiracy to murder and conspiring to cause an explosion after an unexploded bomb was found in Little Wormwood Scrubs park.

A 23-year-old native of Finsbury Park at the time, with no permanent address at the time of the alleged crime.

There was initial confusion that Manfo was the son of Ghana's Deputy Inspector-General of Police, K. K. Asiedu, but his son was later tracked down and absolved.

He is held at the Belmarsh prison, and his first court appearance was August 8th 2005. He requsted a Twi interpreter

The prosecution alleged that Asiedu was supposed to be the fifth bomber but he "lost his nerve at the last moment".

Instead he dumped his bomb in a wooded area, where it was found two days later, the jury was told.

Afterwards, he tried to convey the impression of a man "carrying on his life as normal", prosecution said. On July 26 he went to the police but "not to tell the truth", he alleged.

Instead, during the course of interviews lasting a number of days, he "lied on an epic scale" to keep up the pretence that he only happened to know two of the defendants, Prosecutor Nigel Sweeney QC told the jury. Eventually, the true scale of his involvement was revealed by the "weight of evidence" against him, he said.

Deny Charges

The six deny charges of conspiracy to cause explosions. Mr. Sweeney said the men chose a date for their plan "just 14 days after the carnage of July 7".

But the court heard how the conspiracy "had been in existence long before the events of July 7" and did not appear to be some "hastily arranged copycat".

The prosecutor told how six bombs were made using a mix of liquid hydrogen peroxide, chupatti flour, acetone and acid.

Evidence that the alleged bombers had been buying the materials necessary in late April 2005 would form part of the prosecution's case, Mr Sweeney added.

Each bomb was placed in a large plastic container and screws, tacks, washers or nuts, were taped to the outside to "maximise the possibility of injury", he said.

He told the court it was unclear if the bombs had failed to detonate because they had been manufactured incorrectly at the flat or because of hot weather on 21 July affecting the chemicals.

'Suicide note'

He outlined the case against each defendant, saying all of them were "would-be suicide bombers" except for Mr Yahya, who was out of the country on 21 July 2005.

Mr Sweeney told the court how Mr Mohammed had written a suicide note which was found in pieces after his arrest, and how Mr Asiedu "lost his nerve at the last moment" and dumped his bomb.

The court also heard how Mr Ibrahim had been trained for jihad in the Sudan in 2003 and had also travelled to Pakistan the following year "to take part in jihad or to train for it".

Three of the men - Mr Omar, Mr Yahya and Mr Ibrahim - attended Finsbury Park Mosque, north London, to listen to radical cleric Abu Hamza, Mr Sweeney added.

The three, together with Mr Asiedu and Mr Osman, had also been among a group of 20 or more people on a camping trip to a farm in Cumbria in May, September 2004, he said.

Photographs of them on the last day of their trip by police officers on surveillance, were shown to the jury.

One of the defendants, Mr Omar, fled London after the attempted bombings disguised as a woman wearing a burka, the court heard.

Mr Sweeney said: "The evidence will show, amongst other things, that at the least of it Ibrahim, Omar, Osman and Yahya all held extremist views.
"Second, Ibrahim, Omar and Yahya had all spoken about carrying out jihad."

'No hoax'

Hussein Osman was eventually arrested in Rome, where he told police that the plot was a "deliberate hoax", not a serious attempt to kill commuters.

Mr Sweeney said: "Given the weight of the evidence as to his involvement, what could he say?

"The prosecution case is that this was no hoax."

He added: "The failure of those bombs to explode owed nothing to the intention of these defendants, rather it was simply the good fortune of the travelling public that day that they were spared."
The six men were all known to each other by the summer of 2005, Mr Sweeney said.
The jury heard that Yassin Omar's one-bedroom flat in New Southgate, north London, was a bomb factory, "where the great majority, if not all, of the work required to make those bombs was carried out".
The trial at Woolwich Crown Court is expected to last up to four months.

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