South East Wales

Cardiff brothers admit London Stock Exchange terror plot

Two Cardiff brothers are among four men who have admitted planning to detonate a bomb at the London Stock Exchange.

Al-Qaeda-inspired Gurukanth Desai, 30, and Abdul Miah, 25, pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

They, along with Mohammed Chowdhury and Shah Rahman from London, were set to stand trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

Five other men, including one from Cardiff, have pleaded guilty to other terrorism offences.

Omar Latif, 28, of Neville Street, Cardiff, admitted attending meetings with the intention of assisting others to prepare or commit acts of terrorism. The other four are from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

All nine, who were arrested in December 2010, will be sentenced next week.

During the plotting, the court heard Desai, of Albert Street, Cardiff, and Miah, of Ninian Park Road, Cardiff met with the other men in Cardiff's Roath Park and later at Cwmcarn country park near Newport.

The plot has been condemned in the Cardiff Muslim community.

Zane Abdo, Imam of the South Wales Islamic Centre, said none of the men represented Muslims.

He said: "My reaction here is one of shock.

'Outraged'

"These individuals do not represent Muslims neither in Cardiff, nor do they represent Muslims in a wider world at large."

He said the men did not "speak on behalf of anybody", adding that Islam is a faith of "peace to everybody, man, woman, Muslim, non-Muslim....there's a broad principle of goodwill to everybody".

The court heard the men, who are all British nationals, had been inspired by the preachings of the recently-killed radical extremist Anwar Al-Awlaki.

They met because of their membership of various radical groups and stayed in touch over the internet, through mobile phones and at specially arranged meetings.

They gathered in parks in a bid to make surveillance difficult.

Cardiff councillor Ramesh Patel said: "I'm absolutely outraged by their behaviour and I hope that they get the harshest sentence served upon them because this kind of behaviour is certainly not acceptable in any society and certainly not acceptable in Cardiff."

It emerged that those who admitted planning to target the London Stock Exchange wanted to send five mail bombs to various targets during the run up to Christmas 2010 and discussed launching a "Mumbai-style" atrocity.

A hand-written target list discovered at the home of one of the men listed the names and addresses of London Mayor Boris Johnson, two rabbis, the US embassy and the Stock Exchange

The conspiracy was stopped by undercover anti-terror police before firm dates could be set for attacks.

Saleem Kidwali, of the Muslim Council for Wales, said the Cardiff men "come from a good family" and it had been a "wake up call" for Wales and "particularly the Muslim community".

'Responsibility'

He added: "Since before December 2010 we have been working to deal with these types of situations and I hope it is a learning experience and it will never happen again.

"There's a lot of responsibility on our, not only the Muslim community but the community at large, to work much harder to deal with the causes and to deal with these youngsters who are being radicalised."

The men admitted the offences after a special hearing which allows a defendant to hear from the judge what sentence they may receive if they plead guilty on the eve of a trial.

A jury had been sworn in to hear the trial before the defendants changed their pleas to guilty.

Addressing the jurors as they were discharged, Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, said that the four involved in the Stock Exchange plot had not intended to maim and kill.

"Their intention was to cause terror and economic harm and disruption. But their chosen method meant there was a risk people would be maimed or killed," he said.

South Wales Police assistant chief constable, Matt Jukes, said the guilty pleas demonstrate that terrorism "is not a remote issue".

"In Wales we have been working resolutely to counter terrorism for several years and this work will continue with vigour," he said.

"The communities of Cardiff are determined to live together peacefully and violent extremism will not be tolerated.

"The tremendous support we have received for this prosecution and last month's actions in Cardiff reflect that determination."

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