Islamist terrorist suspect convicted in Belfast

The BBC report that an Algerian, Abbas Boutrab, arrested in Belfast in April 2003, has been convicted at Belfast Crown Court of possessing and collecting information “for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism”. The 27 year old had been charged under three aliases. When arrested a number of false identities and passports where found which he had claimed were “used simply to facilitate his drifter lifestyle throughout Europe” As David Sharrock reported in the Times, among “items recovered from Mr Boutrab’s flat were a circuit board, a stethoscope, grinding tools, various clamps, grips and spreaders. A stolen Nokia pay-as-you-go phone was also found that had received calls from London.” Update Channel4 News has an excellent video report here[wmv file 11Mb]David Sharrock also reported that –

He [Abbas Boutrab] had applied for asylum in the Netherlands in the 1990s using the name Brahmin Abaoui. In 2001 he had applied for asylum in the Republic of Ireland with the name Yocef Djafari. In May 2002, after a road accident in the Republic, he had given police a Dutch passport in the name of Abbas Fawwas. In July that year he had applied for asylum in Northern Ireland.

and that

At his initial arrest and interview by immigration officers in Belfast in April 2003, he had claimed to have entered Northern Ireland by train from the Irish Republic, having previously travelled from Algeria through Morocco and without being interviewed by border officials at Dublin airport.

  • John

    Surely Mr Boutrab should now be released, now that he has been convicted of a terrorist offence? Or are Algerians subject to a different law from Irish people?

  • Pete Baker

    I highly recommend watching the Channel4 News video report, which points out that Abbas Boutrab is unlikely to be this individual’s real name – he had at least 10 aliases.

  • harry flashman

    I am delighted that they nailed this guy, but I’m intrigued by the need for a Diplock court. As I understood it the Diplock courts were a response to the intimidation of juries and the fact that juries in a hopelessly divided society like Northern Ireland couldn’t give a fair and unbiased decision, they were a regrettable but understandable response to the situation then pertaining.

    Is this really the case with this chap? Were they afraid that there could be jury nobbling? Or that an Ulster jury couldn’t give this guy a fair hearing? It seems to me that a bit of pressure was used by Charles Clarke in the Home Office, so that when they introduce no jury courts in England, they can say “Ah but look how well they operated in Northern Ireland recently”.

    It’s a very retrograde step, the Diplock courts should have been a thing of the past by now.

  • Dumbass

    Of all the places to go to, for gawd’s sake going to the sick counties to plot international terror. He should be awarded a medal for stupidity.

  • Nestor Makhno

    Bizarre line of questioning on Radio Ulster this morning about the case. Local BBC radio hack:

    “Did he look like a muslim or did he look just like you or me?”

    Not exactly sure what he was getting at there but surely it was just as offensive as asking:

    “Did he look like a catholic or did he look just like you or me?”

  • Have they arrested the owner of the website where he downloaded details of terror “thought” crimes?

  • Pete Baker

    Some of the sites hosting similar material have been shut down, FF.. but it will depend on where they’re being hosted.

  • wow – the idea of an Islamist terrorist coming to Northern Ireland to ‘plot and plan’ is really something else – the absurdity of terrorism and our response to it just confirms the ridiculousness of our existence to me… and man, “Did he look like a muslim or did he look just like you or me?” is comedy gold…

  • Pete Baker

    I’m not sure why some people think it’s absurd, considering the number of flights to the US from Dublin.. the information he was gathering and testing related to carrying a bomb onto a flight.. and then there’s the ease of travel he evidently experienced both to and within Ireland.

    Worth noting that, according to the reports, this wasn’t an intelligence-led arrest.

  • ch in texas

    90 days is sounding pretty good to me at this point! I think poor Tony was on to something. Shame on the Commons.

  • hi there mr. baker re: your comment to my comment = i don’t find the arrested gentleman’s coming to n.i. absurd – just funny. it’s terrorism itself i find absurd. chrs, jt.

  • Daugavas

    They’ve just been here in the computer bit of Belfast Central library filming a report on that.

    I’m not sure why there’s a big surprise about it all as Belfast is as good a place as any to plot and plan terrorism!

  • peacewalker

    I hope this man’s rights and freedoms are being protected. How come we do not hear anything about his personal life,his family etc. Where was be born and who are his people. He was on a hunger strike.
    Why has he been in prison for two years. Where is the justice in that. Why are so many immigrants in Northern Ireland? What is happening over there?
    911 was a complete inside job..Blair and Bush are evil
    Create a ” terrorist network ” and the world is your oyster you can bring in Diplock Court everywhere.
    I thought these kangaroo courts were banned
    God Bless this poor child I hope someone is visiting him and getting the real story. Is he real?

    Read David Icke

  • Pete Baker

    “How come we do not hear anything about his personal life,his family etc. Where was be born and who are his people.”

    Because he refuses to reveal his real identity.

    Sheesh.

  • Tim Osman

    Just another bullshit conviction to keep “the war on freedom” oops I mean “terror” on track. We should be having a war on intelligence agencies instead, who are the real haters of democracy and freedom.