//India-born Al-Qaeda man sentenced

India-born Al-Qaeda man sentenced

LONDON: An India-born alleged Al-Qaeda militant on Tuesday was sentenced to life for plotting to launch terrorist attacks in Britain and America and kill hundreds of people.

Dhiren Barot (34), who was born in Baroda and converted to Islam at the age of 20, reportedly confessed to planning "back-to-back'' attacks here with a view to unleashing a "memorable black day of terror'' using "dirty'' bombs and other explosives.

The targets were said to include many high-profile buildings, including the Savoy Hotel, Waterloo station and the underground tube network.

According to the prosecution, the evidence suggested that the "conspiracy was in its final stages.''

Edmund Lawson QC, for the prosecution, told the court that Barot was the "organiser of a major terrorist activity designed to strike at the very heart of both America and the United Kingdom and to cause loss of human life on a massive scale.''

Barot, who was arrested in August 2004 after a counter-terror operation spread over several countries, including India and Pakistan, was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court here.

Wanted in U.S.

He is also wanted by the American authorities on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the U.S. and Yemen. He was allegedly behind a plot to attack important targets in Washington and New York.

Barot's parents migrated to Britain in 1972, months after he was born.

He dropped out of school and converted to Islam after attending lectures by extremist leaders.

In 1994, he allegedly attended terror-training camps in Pakistan.

Planning

The prosecution said documents seized from him indicated a "meticulous planning.''

"The plans, most chillingly, were drawn up as business plans… they involved the giving of no warnings and were designed to kill as many innocent civilians as possible,'' Mr Lawson said.

In a document, seized from his laptop, Barot allegedly suggested attacking the London tube trains as they passed under the Thames, noting: "Imagine the chaos that would be caused if a powerful explosion were to rip through here and actually rupture the river itself. That would cause pandemonium… .''

The trial, which The Times called the "most significant terrorist case since 9/11, attracted huge media attention.