Much has been made of Jeremy Corbyn’s associates in recent weeks but no attention has been given so far to his dedicated support and campaigning inside and outside parliament for, two terrorists convicted in relation to bombings which maimed 20 people in the UK.
He has consistently supported Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh since their arrest in 1995 on charges of consipracy to cause explosions in London, and proclaimed their innocence and given his active support. As recently as 2013 he personally intervened when Botmeh (now released from prison) was involved in an employment dispute in London.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Alami and Botmeh were convicted on 11th December 1996 of conspiracy to cause explosions between January 1993 and May 1995. This related to an explosion outside the Israeli Embassy in London on 26th July 1994 which demolished part of the building and injured 14 people, and the following day an explosion outside Balfour House, a building housing a Jewish organisation in London, which injured six people.
This is a case that saw thorough consideration by the legal system in this country and beyond, but that process has failed to produce the result Jeremy Corbyn wanted, so he has simply ignored it and carried on supporting the terrorists and proclaiming their innocence despite their acknowledgement of connections to explosives and guns and overwhelming evidence of their connection to the bombings.
The best place to start is some of the key facts set out by the Court of Appeal:
- Botmeh and Alami admitted possesing about 5 lbs of an explosive, TATP, which had been made up into two bombs.
- Alami admitted possessing 3 hand guns.
- Alami was a chemical engineer who admitted possessing other explosive devices and relevant literature.
- Botmeh was alleged to have procured the two cars in which the bombs were delivered.
- On 25th April,Botmeh had bought a distinctive BMW car at Wimbledon car auction, using the false name “Jaffa” and a false address.
- On 9th May three timers [of 6 in total] were bought and in due course three of the six timers were recovered from the lock-up in May 1995.
- On 26th May 1994, an order was placed with chemical wholesalers in Birmingham for a substantial quantity of acetone, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid and sodium chlorate. The first 3 were capable of producing TATP according to a formula published in a book which Alami had. Sodium chlorate could be mixed with sugar or charcoal to produce high explosive. The chemicals were collected on 2nd June, by a person signing the name George Davis, giving a Wolverhampton address, in a Ford Transit van which had been hired the previous day.
- When the lock-up was searched in May 1995 there was found, in addition to the 2 TATP bombs, a quantity of sodium chlorate and a small quantity of nitric acid in a carton bearing the label of the Birmingham wholesalers.
- On 13th June “George Davis”, giving the same Wolverhampton address, bought a Triumph Acclaim motor car at a Birmingham car auction. The description of the buyer could have fitted Botmeh. Later, with false plates, the Triumph delivered the Balfour House bomb.
- On 15th June “George Davis” giving the same Wolverhampton, address bought an Audi at a car auction in Milton Keynes at which Botmeh was present in the BMW. Equipped with false plates, the Audi was used to deliver the Israeli Embassy bomb.
- On 15th July an Audi car owned by the Alami family was seen in Kensington Palace Gardens. On 17th July Alami rented the lock-up under a false name and on 23rd July Botmeh visited the lock-up.
- Prior to the bombings, both had been involved, over a period of time, in projects involving radio controlled model aircraft and in experiments with improvised explosives. Botmeh kept a detailed log of his model aircraft activities and Alami’s log included extensive notes on explosives generally.
- After Alami’s arrest in January 1995, police found, at a flat in Montrose Court to which she had access, a gun and ammunition together with some chemicals and notes made by her on explosives.
- Alami repeatedly lied about her whereabouts on the relevant dates in interview.
- Both denied any involvement in the bombings but admitted having carried out experiments with TATP and the model aircraft; to develop and test techniques which could be used in the Occupied Territories.
- While at Imperial College, Alami said she had started to collect information regarding improvised explosives and had unsuccessfully experimented with fertiliser and weedkiller in remote places accompanied by Botmeh. Her last field trial of home made explosives had been in March 1994.
- Alami said that the explosives found in the lock-up had been given to her on 13th July 1994 by “Reeda” a Palestinian she had first met in 1992. The first time he was mentioned by either of them was during the trial and no details were provided which could have established an identity.
Even on their best case these are armed bombers who were connected to the Israeli Embassy and Balfour House bombings; they say they didn’t intend to maim and destroy at that time and at that place, but to maim and destroy in other places at other times.
And their best case, such as it was, the jury unanimously decided, was not very good, and they were each sentenced to 20 years in prison.
What followed was a sustained legal and political campaign with Jeremy Corbyn as a ringleader, to undermine and minimise their conviction. The legal approach focused on the manner of the trial, involving Public Interest Immunity. The political and public relations campaign, with Corbyn at its heart, proclaimed them as innocents who were the victims of an unfair trial.
The legal applications culminated in this country at the Court of Appeal which found that the PII applications were necessary because of matters which;
“affects national security at the highest level and would, if disclosed, present a clear and immediate threat to life”,
that the trial judge and prosecution were not deprived of relevant information and that at trial;
“no injustice was done” to Alami and Botmeh.
Click here to read the Court of Appeal judgment.
Following that ruling the case was taken to the European Court of Human Rights which found unanimously that the case had been correctly handled and there was no unfair trial. Click here to read that judgment. Various other unsuccessful appeals have been made to the highest court levels relating to their imprisonment and release – click here for one.
Since their conviction Corbyn has signed 5 Early Day Motions in Parliament protesting their ‘innocence’. The most recent one he sponsored. He has also asked parliamentary questions.
Click on the following link for Jeremy Corbyn’s support in the House of Commons – Parliamentary intervention for Botmeh and Alami
He demonstrated how close the issue is to his heart in 2013 when he intervened in an employment dispute involving Botmeh. Corbyn wrote to Botmeh’s employer on House of Commons notepaper, in his capacity as an MP, stating that:
“I supported Jawad’s case inside parliament and outside including meetings/demonstrations; Jawad’s case is, I believe, a miscarriage of justice”.
Click on the following link to see the letter – Jeremy Corbyn Letter supporting Jawad Botmeh
The conspiracy theorists’ belief about the bombings in 1994, on the basis of, er nothing, is that maybe the Israelis did it themselves, destroying part of their embassy and injuring 20 people in the two attacks so that the UK would improve security. Corbyn’s interventions play to that conspiritorial narrative – why else would he consistently back a man and woman who admitted their involvement in terrorist actions in London?
In any event a man who aspires to lead this country does not respect its judicial system and prefers to support professed and convicted terrorists who attacked the UK.