3 UK men kept in prison after terrorism hearing

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Three men accused of building a makeshift bomb and making other preparations for a terrorist attack against Britain's far-right English Defense League were ordered held in prison Tuesday by a London court.

District Judge Daphne Wickham told the men they would be kept in custody until a hearing on July 31.

Jewel Uddin, 26, Omar Mohammed Khan, 27, and Mohammed Hasseen, 23, spoke only to confirm their names and ages at a brief hearing at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court.

All three men, from the mostly Muslim neighborhood of Sparkhill in the central England city of Birmingham, were charged late Monday with an offense of preparing an act of terrorism, which carries a potential sentence of life imprisonment. They did not enter any pleas to the court or seek to be freed on bail.

Prosecutor Piers Arnold told the court that the men are alleged to have made preparations to attack a June 30 march of the English Defense League in Dewsbury, central England.

The three are among seven people who were detained after police stopped a Renault Laguna car on the M1 highway near Sheffield, in central England, after the rally on June 30, suspecting it did not have valid insurance.

Arnold said police seized the car and that a search of the vehicle carried out two days later found two sawed-off shotguns, ammunition, knives and an improvised explosive device stashed in the boot. The discovery prompted police to trace and arrest the driver, passenger and other suspects.

The English Defense League claims to be a peaceful opponent of radical Islam. However, opponents accuse it of racism, and its protests have often turned violent — prompting British authorities to occasionally outlaw planned demonstrations by the group.

Arnold did not specify whether the suspects' alleged plans to attack the rally had failed or whether there was any other reason they did not carry out the alleged plan.

Four other people arrested last week in relation to the case are still being questioned by police. Authorities have said the case is not linked to the upcoming London 2012 Olympic Games.

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