Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 10:34 UK

21 July plotters lose appeal bid

Muktar Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Hussain Osman and Ramzi Mohammed (clockwise from top left)
Sir Igor Judge said their crimes had been merciless and extreme

Four men serving at least 40 years for the failed 21 July suicide bombings in London have lost a Court of Appeal bid to challenge their convictions.

Three judges rejected applications brought by Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Hussain Osman for leave to appeal.

Last July, the men were jailed for life for conspiracy to murder.

They had tried to detonate rucksacks filled with explosives on three Tube trains and a bus in 2005.

The planned attacks came two weeks after 52 people were killed and more than 770 were injured when four suicide bombers blew up parts of the London transport network.

The explanation why the date will not be twinned in the annals of its venerable history with the murderous outrage perpetrated on 7 July 2005 is simple: it was sheer good fortune
Sir Igor Judge

The ruling on Wednesday was made by Court of Appeal judges Sir Igor Judge, Mr Justice Forbes and Mr Justice Mackay.

The three of them also dismissed applications brought by Mohammed and Osman against their sentences.

Sir Igor said: "On 21 July 2005, London came within a vanishingly short breath of wholesale murder by terrorists.

"The explanation why the date will not be twinned in the annals of its venerable history with the murderous outrage perpetrated on 7 July 2005 is simple: it was sheer good fortune.

"These were merciless and extreme crimes. As they were rightly meant to be, the sentences were severe and extreme. Beyond doubt, however, they were utterly justified."

'Ludicrous defence'

At last year's trial, the four told Woolwich Crown Court the plot had been an elaborate hoax aimed at drawing attention to Britain's part in the occupation of Iraq.

But Sir Igor said that, after a lengthy examination of the evidence, the court was entitled to record that the defences of the four to the charge of conspiracy to murder were "ludicrous".

During the appeal hearing last month, Nigel Sweeney QC, for the Crown, said the conviction applications had "no merit".

But counsel for Ibrahim and Omar argued the trial judge had "erred in law" by ruling that safety interviews - urgent or emergency interviews by police on the grounds of safety - were admissible.

Further arguments centred on an alleged confession by Osman to two prison officers.

Counsel for Mohammed and Omar said the judge should have permitted them to question the prison officers to test the reliability of the alleged confession.

However, Sir Igor said the trial had been marked with "conspicuous fairness and commanding judicial control".




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