August 30, 2006

3 due in court on UK airline plot charges

LONDON (Reuters) - Three British Muslims are due in court
on Wednesday, accused over a suspected plot to blow up
U.S.-bound airliners.

Police must also decide whether to charge, free or ask
permission to keep five other suspects in custody.

Mohammed Yasar Gulzar (age unknown), Mohammed Shamin Udin,
35, and Nabeel Hussain, 22, were charged by detectives late on
Tuesday with conspiracy to murder and planning acts of
terrorism by plotting to blow up planes.

They are due to appear at a magistrates court in central
London to hear formal charges against them.

The men were among 25 arrested by British anti-terrorism
detectives who said on August 10 they had foiled a plan to use
homemade liquid explosives to bring down several airliners over
the Atlantic on the way from Britain to the United States.

So far, officers have charged 15 people in connection with
the inquiry.

Last week eight men were remanded over the most serious
charges of conspiracy to murder and plotting to smuggle and
detonate bombs on board airliners.

Four others, including a 17-year-old youth and a young
mother with an 8-month-old baby, are accused of lesser

Five more, including the baby who was briefly taken into
custody with his mother, have been released without charge.

All of those arrested are British Muslims and most are of
Pakistani origin.

Five people remain in custody who have not so far been

Under new British security legislation that came into force
last month, detectives can question terrorism suspects for up
to 28 days before deciding whether to charge or free them.

However, they are required to seek regular judicial
approval and must obtain new consent from a London High Court
judge on Wednesday if they want to keep the remaining five
suspects, who have already been held for 21 days, in custody.

Pakistani authorities have also arrested several people,
including two Britons, in connection with the plot.

On Monday Britain confirmed it had asked Pakistan to
extradite a British national, Rashid Rauf.

Rauf, who is a dual Pakistani-British national, has been
identified as a key figure in the inquiry by the Pakistan
government. However the extradition has been requested in
relation to a murder in April 2002.