London black cab driver Anis Abid Sardar has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 38 years after becoming the first person to be convicted in a UK court for fighting in the Iraqi insurgency.
The 38 year old Wembley man built improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as part of a ‘deadly’ campaign to kill Americans fighting in Iraq in 2007.
He was found guilty by a jury on an 11-1 majority verdict at Woolwich Crown Court for murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
One of the bombs led to the death of 34 year-old Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson, of 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.
It detonated under the armoured vehicle he was travelling in on September 27th 2007.
Sardar was tracked down seven years later after officials at the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Centre (Tedac) found his fingerprints on some of the bombs.
Sardar was wearing a grey tracksuit and showed no reaction to the sentence.
Mr Justice Globe told Sardar that Sgt Johnson had been described by his commanding officer, Major Eric Adams, as showing ‘deep compassion’ in leading his platoon.
It is therefore the saddest irony that when the eight-wheel Stryker vehicle containing the American soldiers ran over and exploded an IED it was Sgt First Class Johnson who was killed.
He was buried in Arlington Cemetery and his family can be proud that he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Sgt First Class Johnson’s loss was one of the sad tragedies in what was going on in Iraq in 2007.
By the jury’s verdict it is a loss for which you are directly responsible.
Mr Justice Globe added
I am satisfied that at the material time of the offences you had a mindset that made Americans every bit the enemy as Shia militias. Both were in your contemplation at all times.
Commander Richard Walton, Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) said:
This sentence brings to an end an investigation that has spanned almost eight years and I hope that it will bring some comfort to the family of Sergeant Johnson, who tragically lost his life in the service of his country.
This case demonstrates our resolve to convict anyone committing terrorism anywhere in the world, even if it takes us many years.
I hope that it further stands as a deterrent to those thinking today that they can undertake terrorist activity overseas without fear of the law. Over time circumstances change, and when and where we have evidence we will seek to bring them before a court.
I’d also like to praise the work of investigators, officers and scientists both here in the UK and in the US, who worked together to bring a terrorist and murderer to justice. Without their dedication and commitment throughout this investigation, this outcome would not have been possible.
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