Dewsbury ‘would-be’ bombers to challenge sentences
Six men who had planned to bomb an English Defence League rally in Dewsbury last year are said to be preparing to appeal their prison sentences.
The men are appealing on the grounds that they feel they have been handed tougher sentences compared to non-Muslim extremists who commit similar crimes.
Jewel Uddin, Omar Mohammed Khan, and Zohaib Ahmed were each ordered to serve 19 years and six months in prison with five years extended licence, whilst Mohammed Hasseen, Anzal Hussain, and Mohammed Saud were handed 18 years and nine months sentences each with five years extended licence.
The men, from the West Midlands, were travelling to the EDL rally in June 2012 with an array of weapons, including shotguns, swords, a nail bomb and a partially-assembled pipe bomb yet arrived after the event had happened. They were only stopped on their way back down the motorway after the vehicle they were driving in had no insurance.
The group are now arguing that the terms handed out to them for planning an act of terror are significantly longer than those handed out to extremists who are not Muslim and therefore are challenging the decision.
It is believed that the men’s lawyers will point to similar cases of non-Muslim extremists such as Ian Forman.
Forman developed a home-made bomb, packed with nails and ball bearings, following months of online research in which he identified two mosques he described as ‘targets’. He was only handed a 10 year sentence in prison last month for offences under the Terrorism Act 2006.
Lawyers will also refer to a 2011 report by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, in which he identified a perceived link between religion and sentence length for those arrested for terrorism-related offences.
He said: “Some Muslims believe that there is a greater readiness on the part of press, politicians, police and law enforcement officers to characterise attacks by Muslims as 'terrorism' than attacks by far-right extremists.
“This, they say, results in discriminatory sentencing and cements popular perceptions of terrorism, at least in Great Britain, as crime perpetrated overwhelmingly by Muslims.”
However, a Home Office study found that that perception was not supported by the statistics.