Idiots not terrorists


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Two men - dubbed “idiots not terrorists” - have been cleared of threatening to blow up a plane.

NOT TERRORISTS: Mohammad Safdar (left and Tayyab Subhani (right) have been cleared

NOT TERRORISTS: Mohammad Safdar (left and Tayyab Subhani (right) have been cleared

Tayyab Subhani, 30, and Mohammed Safdar, 42, were arrested on 24th May after a Boeing 777 heading from Lahore, Pakistan, to Manchester, was forced to make an emergency landing at Stansted Airport in Essex.

It had been claimed Mr Safdar, supported by Mr Subhani, had made threats to kill crew and passengers after an argument broke out with air stewards at 30,000 feet.

But jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court were instructed to find the men, from Nelson in Lancashire, not guilty of endangering an aircraft.

Judge Charles Gratwicke described the case as “tenuous and peppered with inconsistencies”.

He added: “Under the circumstances no jury can properly convict these men.”

Prosecutor Brian O'Neill said: “In light of the state of the evidence, it has been decided it is no longer appropriate to seek convictions in this case.”

EMERGENCY: The Boeing 777 was forced to make a landing at Stanstead Airport

EMERGENCY: The Boeing 777 was forced to make a landing at Stanstead Airport

The Boeing 777 was forced to make an emergency landing at Stansted Airport.

A series of witnesses told the court that although the men had acted like idiots, they had not heard a bomb threat.

In statements read outside court, both men said they were relieved that their ordeal was over, and they had cleared their names after wrongly being branded terrorists.

Solicitor Raza Sakhi said: “This is a victory for Mr Safdar, his loved ones and those that knew he was innocent of the allegations he was facing.”

The court heard that Pakistan International Airlines had released its own internal inquiry, which contradicted evidence given by its staff to police and in court, only when ordered to by the court.

Barristers for both men said they did not blame the police or Crown Prosecution Service for the case being brought to court.

Speaking for Mr Safdar, Mr Sakhi added: “Due to the misinformation supplied to the UK authorities by members of the crew of flight PK709, the UK was put to considerable expense.

“Mr Safdar was wrongly vilified as a terrorist based on the same information.

“Mr Safdar was separated from his family and remanded in custody for 73 days as a result of this misinformation.”

Biant Bansai, speaking on behalf of Mr Subhani, said: “This case has collapsed after it became clear that witnesses against him had not told the truth.

“This brings an end to six months of stress and anxiety for Mr Subhani and the cost to him and his family has been very high.

“He’s delighted that his name has now been cleared and we will press for a full inquiry as to the conduct of Pakistan International Airlines in this case.”

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