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Three Britons sentenced in trans-Atlantic jet bombing plot

By the CNN Wire Staff
The three were to blow up jetliners over the Atlantic as suicide bombers.
The three were to blow up jetliners over the Atlantic as suicide bombers.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Each to serve at least 20 years in prison
  • Three Britons convicted last week of conspiracy to murder as suicide bombers
  • Plot included plans to detonate liquid explosives in soft-drink bottles
RELATED TOPICS
  • Terrorism
  • Al Qaeda
  • United Kingdom

(CNN) -- Three Britons recruited as suicide bombers in an al Qaeda-inspired 2006 plot to blow up airliners as they were flying across the Atlantic were sentenced Monday to life in prison, with a minimum of 20 years.

Ibrahim Savant, 29, Arafat Waheed Khan, 29, and Waheed Zaman, 26, were convicted last week of conspiracy to murder as suicide bombers. They and other conspirators planned to detonate liquid explosives stowed aboard planes in soft-drink bottles, prosecutors said.

The men "were actively working alongside other men on a plot to cause death and injury on a massive scale," said Sue Hemming, head of the Counter Terrorism Division at the Crown Prosecution Service, in a statement released to CNN last week after their convictions in a third trial.

"They were cleared in the previous trial of being aware of the ultimate targets of the plot," Hemming's statement said, "but we say that they were committed to the principle and practice of violent jihad to the point of targeting innocent people in an attempt to further their cause."

In the first trial in December 2008, the jury was hung on a key charge. In a September 2009 retrial, three other defendants -- Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Tanvir Hussain and Assad Sarwar -- were convicted, but the jury could not decide whether to convict Savant, Khan and Zaman of conspiracy to murder persons unknown.

The foiled plot created global chaos as airports were closed and passengers stranded. New restrictions were instituted worldwide, and a ban on liquids remains in effect in most airports around the world. Twelve people have now been prosecuted in connection with the liquid bomb plot.