Head of British cell gets life in terror plot

Targets included financial institutions in the United States

November 08, 2006|By Los Angeles Times

LONDON -- A man described as "a determined and dedicated terrorist" who headed a British sleeper cell plotting to destroy financial institutions in the United States was sentenced yesterday to life in prison.

Dhiren Barot, who was also accused of engineering plans to explode a radioactive "dirty bomb" and set off gas-canister explosions in London parking garages, cannot be released for at least 40 years under the sentence handed down after he pleaded guilty to one count of murder conspiracy.

"You are, Mr. Barot, a determined and dedicated terrorist, a highly intelligent and extremely dangerous man," said Justice Alexander Butterfield. "Your intention was not simply to cause damage, panic or fear. Your intention was to murder - but it went further. It was designed to strike at the very heart of democracy and the security of the state."

Barot, 34, an Indian-born immigrant who grew up in Britain and converted from Hinduism to Islam as a young man, showed no emotion as the ruling was issued.

Barot could be transferred to the United States for trial on a separate indictment accusing him of plotting to blow up the New York Stock Exchange, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund headquarters, the Citigroup building in New York and the Prudential building in Newark, N.J.

Seven alleged co-conspirators face trial in Britain next April in a plot the judge said was intended to cause "indiscriminate carnage, bloodshed and butchery" across the United States and Britain.

Barot's attorney said there was no evidence that his client and the co-defendants had gone any further than the exploration stage, or that Barot had acquired any materials for carrying out bombings or arson attacks.

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