Birmingham terror accused charged

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FIVE Birmingham men arrested in connection with a plot to kidnap and kill and British soldier have appeared in court under terrorism charges.  

The men were arrested as part of a huge anti-terror swoop on more than 12 addresses across the Sparkhill, Alum Rock and Washwood Heath area’s of Birmingham last week.

Parviz Khan, 36, is the only man to be accused of devising a plot to kidnap and kill a British soldier.

The full charge against him alleges that he engaged in conduct to give effect to his intention to kidnap and kill a member of the British Armed Forces between 1 November 2006 and 31 January 2007.

Four other men Amjad Mahmood, 31, Mohammed Irfan, 30, Zahoor Iqbal, 29, and Hamid Elasmar, 43, and Mr Khan, are accused of supplying equipment and funding for a terrorist act between 30 March last year and 31 January.

Mr Mahmood faces an additional charge of failing to disclose information of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism by Mr Khan and others.

Mr Khan, Mr Mahmood and Mr Elasmar were all remanded in custody to appear at London’s Old Bailey on 23 February.

Bail applications on behalf of the other two accused are still taking place.

Three men have already been released without charge in relation to the raids which have shocked the local community.

One of those released slammed the police investigation, telling the BBC the UK was “a police state for Muslims”.

Abu Bakr, who worked in the Maktabah bookshop, which was one of 12 properties raided by police, said he was first told of the terror plot involving the kidnap of a British soldier by his solicitor.

He also said it would be difficult for him to adjust back to his normal life after the ordeal. “But they don’t realise that, after seven days of virtual torture for my family, it’s going to be hard to readjust,” he said.

“This is going to affect me for the rest of my life.”

Assistant Chief Constable David Shaw, of West Midlands Police, told a news conference the concerns of the local community would still be a priority for the force.

“I want to recognise the way in which communities have responded during the investigation, given the way in which the spotlight has been turned on them”, he said.

“Community cohesion is at the heart of our what West Midlands Police does and we will continue to nurture the relationships we have and listen to the concerns of all our communities. This has always been more than a policing operation.”

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