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July 21 Bomb Suspect Put into Custody

A British court yesterday remanded into custody the first person to be charged in connection with the failed July 21 bomb attacks in London.


Ismael Abdurahman, 23, from southeast London, spoke only to confirm his name and age during a 10-minute hearing in Bow Street Magistrate's Court before being led off to jail. He was not asked to enter a plea.


He faces charges of withholding information that helped suspected subway bomber Hamdi Issac initially avoid capture.


Issac, also known as Osman Hussain, was later detained in Rome and is being held there on international terrorism charges.


The charges relate to Abdurahman's actions from July 23-28.


Prosecutor Deborah Walsh said he should not receive bail because he presented a flight risk.


"The information he withheld has had extremely serious consequences," she said, referring to the fact that Issac travelled to Rome during that time.


However, his attorney, Anne Faul, protested his innocence.


"The defendant will be and is vigorously contesting the charges," she said. "He has no involvement in terrorist activity whatsoever."


Abdurahman sat in the dock flanked by two security guards. He turned occasionally to wave at the public gallery, and at one point blew a kiss to supporters there.


He faces a maximum of five years in prison if found guilty.


His next court appearance is August 11.


Meanwhile, an extradition hearing has been set for August 17 in Rome for Issac and a decision on Britain's request for him could come that day, his lawyer said yesterday.


Italian prosecutors have said the process before a decision is reached on whether Issac is sent to Britain could take weeks, but his lawyer, Antonietta Sonnessa, said it was "likely" the judge could make a decision at the August 17 hearing.


Issac was arrested on Friday in Rome at the home of his brother a few days after slipping through a London dragnet set up in that city after the botched July 21 bombing attempts of three subway trains and a bus.


Thousands of police officers patrolled London's streets and sprawling subway system yesterday, a month after four bombs killed 52 people and four bombers.


The massive security operation, involving 6,000 officers, was intended to reassure the public four weeks on from the deadly July 7 attacks on three subway trains and a central London bus, and the failed July 21 attacks that followed.


(China Daily August 5, 2005)


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