It is always hard to suggest that those undergoing paramilitary training should be jailed, especially when their intentions are unclear. Not on this occasion:
Five London men were yesterday jailed under new anti-terrorist legislation for taking part in al-Qaida-style training camps in the New Forest and at paintballing sessions in the home counties. The sentences ranged between four years 11 months and three years five months. Their terrorist instructor, who dubbed himself "Osama bin London", and a preacher they recognised as their "amir", or leader, were convicted of soliciting to murder. Both will be sentenced next week.
Three of those jailed yesterday - Mohammed
al-Figari, Kader Ahmed and Kibley da Costa - attended camps in Cumbria
and a paintballing centre alongside most of those later convicted over
the failed 21/7 attacks on the London transport system. The
paintballing outing took place just over two weeks before the abortive bombing in 2005.
The poor wordplay of 'bin London' indicates the loser mentality that pervaded these brothers. They were not real material for the jihadi, just fodder for the bomb:
Five of the defendants had arrived as young children in this country, fleeing poverty in the West Indies or conflicts in Africa. Four were recent converts to Islam. All had failed to build the prosperous new lives to which their parents aspired.
Hamid, a reformed crack addict, was the pivotal figure, the prosecution said, turning young Muslims into jihad extremists.
Attending a place for the purpose of terrorism training carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Da Costa, who was also convicted of providing training, was sentenced to four years and 11 months in jail; Ahmed received three years and eight months in a young offenders' institution; Figari was imprisoned for four years and two months; Mutegombwa three years and five months in prison; and Kyraciou three years and five months in a young offenders' institution.
Those jailed were unable to meet the aspirations of their parents and took solace in the radical jihad that glued their collective. Now, they will just become drug dealers, after they leave jail as hardened criminals.