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Abu Hamza and the Islamic Army

   

Confession statements attributed to the defendants

The following extracts from the defendants' "confession" statements were first published in Arabic in the Yemeni army newspaper, 26 September, on January 28 and February 4, 1999. They are included here in translation to give English-speaking readers a clearer picture of the allegations levelled against the men. Readers should be aware that (with one exception) all the defendants deny the charges and have since retracted the statements, so the contents should not be regarded as indicating guilt, or otherwise.

  

Muhsin Ghailan

Sarmad Ahmad

Malik Nasser Harhara

"Al-Jaza'iri"

Shahid Butt 

Ghulam Hussein

Muhammad Mustapha Kamil

Iyad Hussein

Shazad Nabi

Kamal Saghir


Statement attributed to MUHSIN GHAILAN

MUSIN GHAILAN, aged 18, is Abu Hamza's stepson.

Ghailan said he attended a meeting in the Supporters of Shariah (SOS) office in London last September. A man called Amin who had come from Yemen showed pictures of Abu al-Hassan and said that he was the leader of the Islamic Army which had a camp in Abyan with about 400 members and held training sessions for various weapons. "Then he showed us a printed announcement which sought recruits for the army. It was mentioned in the announcement that their aim was to separate the south [of Yemen] from the north." After showing the document, Abu Hamza asked those present to go to Yemen.

Five days after that meeting, Malik Harhara went to Yemen. On his arrival, Harhara phoned the others to come. Then Abu Hamza gave Ghailan $2,000 and told him someone called Abu 'Isa would meet him at Sana'a airport.

Ghailan flew to Yemen with Abd al-Rahman al-Jaza'iri [the suspect with the French passport]. Two days after they had arrived in Yemen, Abu 'Isa called them and took them to his house and on the second day took them to Shabwa in his car. In the Habban district of Shabwa they met Abu al-Hassan who went with them to the house of another person (named Abu Ali) outside Habban.

Abu al-Hassan talked to them and said that he was banished and hunted by the government, and that he wanted to separate the south from the north and was preparing for that. He said he would take them both to the training camp.

Ghailan says his training, and that of the others, began the day after that meeting. There were 25 trainees, divided into groups. It lasted two weeks.

Ghailan says that on November 4 he left Sana'a for Britain. "The time had come to leave the army. We must fight and we were ready to liberate the south." Malik Harhara, Sarmad Ahmad and Ghailan were sharing the task [of bombing in Aden]. Shahid Butt and al-Jaza'iri were preparing the explosive in a villa which the group had rented. Harhara undertook to move the explosives from the villa to the hotel. Sarmad brought the explosives into a room at the hotel which was used for parties.

Ghailan rented a room in the hotel where he could keep a look-out for any movement.

That evening, according to Ghailan, Abu al-Hassan had provided the explosives at a meeting in Abyan. They comprised: 5kg TNT, five mines and two rocket launchers. The explosives were switched from Abu al-Hassan's car to that of the three suspects. After being paid, they left for Aden in the rented Daewoo car which was later stopped in the Khormaksar district of Aden.

Ghailan says that when he eventually returned to Yemen, Abu Hamza gave him £3,000 sterling, asking him to give it to Abu al-Hassan along with some GSM communication equipment, a small video camera and some films.


Statement attributed to SARMAD AHMAD

SARMAD AHMAD said he became acquainted with Abu Hamza in June 1998, along with Harhara, Butt, Ghailan and al-Jaza'iri. Abu Hamza urged them to support "jihad" in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Egypt "because they do not follow the Islamic Way".

Abu Hamza promised to arrange all their travel and training in Yemen.

When Sarmad later met Abu al-Hassan in Abyan, he told him he would be trained in various weapons at his camp.

The task which Ghailan undertook was to bomb the Aden Hotel on December 25. He accepted that he had written the documents which were found in his possession when he was in London undertaking a course in guarding important personalities, map-reading, reconnaissance, etc.


Statement attributed to MALIK NASSER HARHARA

HARHARA came from Britain to Aden airport in July 1998, a month after meeting the others at the SOS office in London. Abu Hamza asked him to go to Yemen because he is Yemeni. He stayed in his uncle's house in Crater and after three months was contacted by Abu al-Hassan, who sent someone to take him to Shabwa, where he stayed in someone else's house in the `Azaan district for about a month.

Then Abu al-Hassan came and took him to the training camp on the Habban road, where Usama al-Masri [one of the kidnappers who was killed] and another man called Abu Abdullah supervised his training.

[Statement then gives technical names for the weapons he was taught to use.]


Statement attributed to AL-JAZA'IRI

His real name is Abd al-Rahman Said 'Amr. He said that in 1997 he came to Britain from Algeria. He applied for political asylum and handed in his Algerian passport to the British authorities who provided him with a house and £80 a fortnight as a political refugee. He obtained a French passport in Britain through one of Abu Hamza's supporters who was of Tunisian origin and had French nationality.

He Ghailan, Ahmad, Butt, Harhara and others at the SOS office in London After arriving in Yemen he met Abu al-Hassan at his house in Shabwa and underwent training at his camp.

Al-Jaza'iri was assigned to a number bombings on New Year's night in the Shadhrawan restaurant in Crater, the tourist club and Khormaksar.

They had instructions, in the vent of failure of any operations, to flee the country immediately via Sana'a airport to Britain. In the event, they could not do this because when Ghailan hired the Daewoo car he had to deposit his passport with the car's owner. Mustapha Kamil's passport was in the possession of another of the suspects.

Meanwhile they were in the Sakhra hotel in Aden trying to find a solution when the police came and arrested them.


Statement attributed to SHAHID BUTT

Butt said he got to know Harhara in London. They went together to Abu Hamza at his mosque and Butt asked for help with travel to Kosovo. But Abu Hamza asked him first to distribute SOS literature in London and other cities before training in weapons. He worked with Abu Hamza for six months. Then Abu Hamza asked him to go to Yemen for "great work": he would be sent to Abu al-Hassan for weapons training and after that he would grant his wish and send him to Kosovo.

Butt arrived in Yemen on November 28 and was met by Harhara. He got to know Abu al-Hassan in the training camp, as well as 'Usama al-Masri and a Tunisian called "Abu Huraira".

Butt said that when he came to Yemen from Britain he brought with him some British passports for use if needed. They were left with Abu al-Hassan.


Statement attributed to GHULAM HUSSEIN

HUSSEIN said his connection with Abu Hamza began when he was working in Luton and attending the Islamic Cultural Centre in the town and Abu Hamza gave lectures there. Later he went to London and met Abu Hamza who told him: "After Afghanistan, Yemen is the [most] suitable country for training mujahideen" because the nature of Afghanistan resembles that of Yemen.


Statement attributed to MUHAMMAD MUSTAPHA KAMIL

MUHAMMAD MUSTAPHA KAMIL ("Abu Antar") is the son of Abu Hamza al-Masri. British; born in London, October 6, 1981.

He says he arrived in Yemen via Aden on November 28, 1998. He says that before coming to Yemen he frequented Finsbury Park mosque and heard Abu Hamza's lectures and sermons inciting people to jihad, and, recently, inciting them to confront Yemen.

He went to Yemen to join the Islamic Army of Aden because his father considered Yemen ripe for jihad.

Abu Hamza's father provided his son and another young man, "Ali Muksin", with tickets and £3,000 sterling, promising them more money on their return. He told them a man called Hatim would meet them at Aden airport and take them to Abu al-Hassan, whom they must heed and obey.

When he arrived with his companion at Aden airport they were met by Hatim, Muhsin Ghailan, Malik Nasser Harhara and two others. They went to the Bab Aden hotel and spent three days there without going out of the hotel, in accordance with the advice of Ghailan and Harhara. On the fourth day they made a tour of Aden in two "saloon" cars rented by Ghailan and Harhara.

Then they went to the Markha district of Shabwa province and met Abu al-Hassan at his house, where they remained for a week.

They asked him if they could go with him and he said jihad was a difficult path, covered with thorns and blood, requiring a lot of patience. After that he took them to the camp. There were four of them: Muhammad Kamil Mustapha, "Ali Muksin", Muhsin Ghailan, and "Abu Hamza".

In the camp they found Muhammad "Abu Huraira", Abu Dajana, Abu Ra'id, Abu Bassam, Abu al-Barra' … They stayed in the camp for three days, learning to use a Kalashnikov, but not other weapons.

They returned to Abu al-Hassan's house and spent five days there, meeting Iyad "Abu Thabit" and Shazad "Abu Dhar". (Kamil says he did not know them in Britain and did not know when they arrived in Yemen.)

He returned to Aden with Shazad, Abad, and Ghailan after spending a fortnight in Shabwa with his friends. After 10 days they went from Aden to Sana'a and stayed in a room at the Roma hotel (in Harhara's name because they had left their passports with Ghailan in Aden).

They spent three days in Sana'a then went again to Shabwa by car. They arrived there in the evening and slept in the Sudanese mosque. Abu al-Hassan and Abu Hamza were in the mosque. In the morning they went to Abu al-Hassan's house and stayed there two days before going to the camp, where they stayed for one day until Abu al-Hassan came with the news that there was a problem because the young men had been caught in Aden with explosives …

After informing them of this, Abu al-Hassan ordered the Yemeni youths to go home and took the foreigners to his house. After that he took them to the house of a man called Muhsin and ordered them to remain there. Abu al-Hassan then left.

On the following day, news arrived that Abu al-Hassan had kidnapped some foreign tourists and been arrested. Usama al-Masri and Ali al-Hajj had been killed.

After a week, Abu Huraira and Abdullah al-Junaid - who had both taken part in the kidnapping - joined them and stayed in Muhsin's house for the remainder of Ramadan.

Kamil says that before their arrest by security forces they had left Muhsin's house as requested and gone to a wadi where, on the following day, they were surrounded and arrested.

Kamil says in his statement that before he came to Yemen, a man called Amin, who was aged about 30, came to London. He met Amin in his father's house and he talked about Abu al-Hassan and the Islamic Army …

Kamil says that Abu al-Hassan obtained support from Abu Hamza, who in turn obtained funds from donations to his father's bank account in London in the name of "Supporters of Shariah". The donations came from "many rich countries".

He added that someone called Yasser al-Siri ("Abu Umar") is in London and had been in Yemen for more than a year. He had a connection with Abu al-Hassan and had remained in contact even after the arrest of Abu al-Hassan.


Statement attributed to IYAD HUSSEIN

IYAD HUSSEIN ("ABU THABIT") is of Pakistani origin, with British nationality. He says he arrived in Yemen on November 13 from London, accompanied by his cousin, the accused Shazad Nabi. They were met at Aden airport by Harhara, who knew both of them from school in Birmingham. Immediately after their arrival, Horhara took them to his house, where he put them up for a week before they moved to a hotel in the centre of Aden.

Then they rented a car from a hire company and went to Habban in Shabwa to the house of Hatim [bin Farid] where they met Abu Ali and Abu Antar, who Iyad recognised as the son of Abu Hamza, whom he had previously become acquainted with in London.

Iyad admits that in Shabwa he learned to use the RPG, machine gun and revolver, as did his cousin. They were trained by a friend of Harhara.


Statement attributed to SHAZAD NABI

SHAZAD NABI is a cousin of Iyad Hussein. He has British nationality.

He says he was encouraged to go to Yemen by Malik Nasser Harhara. Iyad and his cousin phoned Harhara three weeks beforehand to find out the travel procedures and then called him a second time to meet them at the airport. They stayed in Harhara's house for a week but moved to a hotel after he told them his family was going to return. Then they rented a car for a week at £45 sterling per day and went to Shabwa.

They arrived at the house of Hatim [bin Farid] where they met Abu Hamza's son, "Abu Antar", and Abu Ali. They were visited in Hatim's house by the accused Abu Huraira. Later they went to Sana'a and stayed in a hotel, then from there to Aden, and then to Habban in Shabwa where they returned to the house of Hatim bin Farid.

He was taught to use a revolver, a machine gun and RPG.


Statement attributed to KAMAL ALI MUHAMMAD SAGHIR

KAMAL SAGHIR ("Abu Ali"; also referred to as "Kamal Barakan") is an Algerian who came to Britain one-and-a-half years ago and applied for political asylum. Has a French passport .

He says he came to Yemen from Britain on November 28, entering via Aden. The name in his passport was "Ali Muksin".

He says he used to pray in Finsbury Park ... When he decided to go to Yemen he bought a passport for £400 sterling in the name of Ali Muksin and also a ticket, and after that he had £400 in cash. He says he did not obtain any money from Abu Hamza.

He arrived in Yemen on November 28 in the company of Mustapha Kamil.

His statement disagrees with that of Mustapha Kamil regarding their movements in Yemen and the areas they visited. He adds that at the camp of Abu al-Hassan he saw various weapons, but he did not do any training with revolvers or Kalashnikovs.

     

THE STORY

 

DAY BY DAY

A chronology

THE ADEN "BOMB PLOT"  

Introduction

What the police say they found

The accused

Statements attributed to the defendants

The verdicts  

British reactions 

THE ABYAN KIDNAPPING

Introduction

Who were the kidnappers?

The trial so far

The trial: basic facts

Statements attributed to defendants

Evidence: February 6

Witnesses: four Yemeni drivers

Witnesses: a soldier and a sheikh

 

THE PEOPLE

 

ABU HAMZA

ABU AL-HASSAN

The kidnappers

The bomb suspects

SOS newsletters
October/November, 1998

SOS communiqué
11 October, 1998 (Arabic)

SOS communiq
30 December, 1998 (Arabic)

SOS communiq
20 January, 1990 (English)

 

In the Yemen section

 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 


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Last revised on 10 June, 2009