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Sabeel to be deported soon

Judge accepts that 26-year-old doctor Sabeel Ahmed is not an ‘extremist’. Vijay Dutt reports.
Hindustan Times | By Vijay Dutt, London
UPDATED ON APR 13, 2008 01:07 AM IST

Sabeel Ahmed, sentenced on Friday at the Old Bailey to 18 months’ imprisonment “for failing to tell police about the mission” to bomb Glasgow airport, is likely to be deported to India “almost” immediately, say latest reports.

The 26-year-old doctor has already served nine months and was expected to be sent back after he completed his sentence. But as he opted for deportation, Sabeel has been handed over to immigration authorities, who will now fix the date. This means the remaining period of his sentence would be commuted.

Sabeel’s brother Kafeel and an Iraqi, Abdullah Bilal, had rammed a fuel-laden Jeep Cherokee into the airport's terminal building on June 30. Kafeel, who received 90 per cent burns, died in hospital in August. Sabeel was arrested from Liverpool’s Lime Street area on the day of the attack. He used to work at the Halton Hospital in Runcorn.

Scotland Yard sources said as Sabeel has served 270 days in prison, he could be deported right away. The Indian High Commission has not yet been informed. A spokesperson told HT that the mission should be told by the Metropolitan Police, as Sabeel is an Indian citizen. But if his travel papers are okay, it is possible that no information might be given.

When Sabeel was held at the high-security Belmarsh prison, the Commission had offered him consular service, as per rule. But Sabeel had reportedly refused help. HT had learnt from diplomatic sources that he was likely to be let off lightly as there was no charge of his involvement in the Glasgow attack or the two failed London bombings.

This was made clear by Justice Calvert-Smith. Sentencing Sabeel, he said: “Just before he (Kafeel) set off on the attack he sent you a text message telling you to access the site to which he had saved his document. It is clear that Kafeel Ahmed wrote it in anticipation of his own death in the hope that his body may be unrecognisable and unidentifiable, and asked you to keep up a pretence that he was in Iceland on some secret project connected with his work as a scientist.

“It is clear you did not receive it until afterwards. Having opened the document on the website and realising your brother had been involved in a very serious offence, you kept that to yourself rather than going to the authorities. I accept there is no sign of you being an extremist or party to extremist views.”

Sabeel received an e-mail from Kafeel telling him to look after ammi (mother) and abba (father) and saying: “It’s about time that we give up our lives and our families for the sake of Islam to please Allah.”

It also directed Sabeel to online documents containing his will and instructions on how to mislead investigators. “This is a project I was working on for some time now. Everything else was a lie and I hope you can forgive me for being such a good liar. It was necessary.”

The message added: “Inshallah by the time you get this message I should have achieved one of the two goals by the will of Allah.”

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