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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Key figures in ricin case

A suspected al-Qaeda operative has been convicted of a plot to spread the deadly poison ricin on the streets of Britain. Eight other men have been cleared. This is what the court heard about the defendants.

Kamel Bourgass

Believed to be Algerian. Claimed to be born in 1973. Police are not sure if Bourgass is his real name.

Police and MI5 believe he is an al-Qaeda operative who has spent time training in Afghanistan.

He entered the UK illegally in early 2000 and later claimed asylum. His application was rejected and he lost his final appeal in December 2001.

Convicted in June 2004 of murdering Detective Constable Stephen Oake at a flat in Crumpsall, Manchester, in January 2003.

Was subsequently convicted of having "conspired together with other persons unknown to commit public nuisance by the use of poisons and/or explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury".

Bourgass spent time in London and Bournemouth before moving to Manchester in January 2003. Police were not expecting to find him in Crumpsall and did not recognise him.

Kamel Bourgass
Kamel Bourgass, showing signs of the struggle in the Manchester flat
Acting on advice from MI5 that North Africans tended to be calm when arrested, he was not handcuffed.

After the special snatch squad, in bulletproof vests, left the flat he punched one officer in the groin, ran to the kitchen, got out a knife and stabbed DC Oake to death.

He told his trial he regretted it and had only reacted because he was frightened.

Bourgass claimed he had found a bag containing the ricin recipes in the street and foolishly brought it back to the flat.

At his trial he changed his story, claiming he wrote out the recipes for Mohammed Meguerba who was planning to take them back to Algeria where villagers could use them against bandits.

Throughout his trial he constantly complained about his handcuffs being too tight and threatened not to attend the trial on several occasions.

He faces at least 20 years in jail.

Mouloud Sihali

Algerian. Born March 1976.

Lived in Ilford with David Khalef. He told police he had once studied nuclear physics in Paris.

Set up a business called Seven Roses Ltd with Mohamed Meguerba, out of an address in Bounds Green Road, north London.

Has been cleared of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

David Khalef

Algerian. Born March 1972.

Claimed not to be able to speak English and had Arabic translator in court. Also said to have a low IQ.

He had come to the UK in 1998 and claimed asylum. The application was rejected in 2000 and the appeal rejected in 2001. Khalef was served with deportation papers in July 2001.

He lived at an address in Ilford with Sihali until the spring of 2002 when he moved to Thetford, Norfolk, and rented a house.

Khalef admitted passport fraud.

Has been cleared of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

Sidali Feddag

Algerian. Born 9 February 1985. Youngest of the defendants.

Entered UK with his father in November 2000 on a tourist visa.

Was given leave to stay for six months in July 2001 but overstayed and then applied for asylum.

Failed to attend an interview with immigration services in August 2001 but the following month was given a flat in Wood Green by Islington Council.

Arrested in January 2003 and has immigration appeal pending.

Feddag said he met Bourgass at a mosque and invited him to stay at a flat in Wood Green.

Police guard flat in Wood Green
Police guarding the flat in Wood Green
In July 2002 Feddag's father brought the castor oil beans to the UK on the request of Bourgass, who said he needed them to make herbal medicine. He also brought apple pips and cherry stones.

Has pleaded guilty to passport offences - he had a false French passport in the name of Osman Koufi - but denied the other charges.

Has been cleared of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

Mustapha Taleb

Algerian. Born 28 October 1969.

Entered UK in March 2000 using a fake French passport.

Made application for asylum but had his request refused in January 2001.

Was convicted in absentia in Algeria of being a member of a terror organisation but the Home Office considered this amounted to persecution.

In June 2001 Taleb appealed successfully against being refused asylum. He was granted full refugee status, with indefinite leave to remain, in November 2001.

He was arrested in January 2003 at a bank in Wood Green.

In police interviews Taleb said his fingerprints got onto the poison recipes because he was in charge of photocopying at the mosque bookshop where he worked. He denied having read them.

Has been cleared of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

Khalid Alwerfeli

Libyan. Born 1973.

It was his flat in Crumpsall Lane, Manchester, where the fatal stabbing of DC Oake took place, although he was never charged in relation to the incident.

Entered UK in February 1999 using a forged French ID card in the name of Abdul Mustapha.

Claimed asylum but his request for indefinite leave to remain was later refused. His appeal is outstanding.

Rented the flat in Manchester in November 2001 and was arrested there, along with Bourgass, on 14 January 2003.

Charges dropped against him.

Samir Asli

Algerian. Born 1 April 1973.

Entered UK illegally. Claimed asylum in December 1999 but was refused in January 2001.

Appeal denied in May 2001. Faces deportation.

Worked in the kitchen at a mosque in north London.

Rented a house in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in December 2002.

Also linked to an address in Bournemouth, Dorset.

Charges dropped against him.

Mouloud Bouhrama:

Algerian. Believed to have been born on 11 May 1971.

Claimed asylum in September 1999 but was refused in August 2001. His appeal was withdrawn.

Had six false identities - Hubert Manule, Christopher Dekker, Ali Bidano, Ofani Bulmay, Patrick Dimeco and Samir Chacrof.

Bouhrama visited Mr Asli's rented house in Doncaster in January 2003, then was arrested in London on 22 January.

His fingerprints were found on a coffee mill and a bottle of acetone found in the Wood Green flat.

Charges dropped against him.

Kamel Merzoug

North African. Believed to have been born in October 1970 or 1971.

Entered UK illegally in July 2000. Applied for asylum in January 2001.

Obtained a false UK passport in his name in May 2001.

Used false identities of Marco Quadrini and Khalid Sellali.

An associate of Mr Alwerfeli, Mr Merzoug had links with the flat in Crumpsall and another address in Manchester.

Arrested on 29 January 2003 but was released. Re-arrested on 30 September 2003 after his fingerprints were found on poison recipes found at Wood Green.

Charges dropped against him.

Mohamed Meguerba

Algerian. Born 7 January 1968.

Lived in the Republic of Ireland between January 1995 and Spring 2002 and married an Irish woman.

Mohamed Meguerba
Mohamed Meguerba is now in Algeria

He had an Algerian passport in his own name, giving an address in Ireland.

It was extended in London in August 2002.

Was bailed after his arrest and fled to Algeria, where he is now in custody.

He was said by the prosecution to be a close associate of Bourgass.

Had a false passport under the name of Bruno Meurillon.

Lived at an address in Ilford which was rented out by Sihali.

Defence lawyers claimed he was a police informant.


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