Mon February 14, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Release Of Terrorist Trainer Sparks Anger, Comparisons To Lockerbie

"An American jihadist who set up the terrorist training camp where the leader of the 2005 London suicide bombers learned how to manufacture explosives, has been quietly released [from a U.S. prison] after serving only four and a half years of a possible 70-year sentence," The Guardian writes.

The Guardian's investigative scoop has been quickly followed by reports such as this in the London Evening Standard:

"Families of the July 7 victims hit out today after it emerged that an al-Qaida 'supergrass' who set up a training camp attended by the mastermind of the London bombings has been freed after only four and a half years in prison.

"Mohammed Junaid Babar, whose testimony helped secure the conviction of Islamists plotting to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre and Ministry of Sound nightclub, was released last December by the U.S. authorities in return for his 'exceptional co-operation.' "

The Evening Standard adds that Clifford Tibber, a lawyer representing the families and survivors of the July 7, 2005, attacks, at the July 7 inquest, compared his clients' outrage with that expressed by relatives of those killed in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Scotland when they learned that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted for that attack, had been released by Scottish authorities:

"When the British government released Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber who received a life sentence, on compassionate grounds after eight years the Americans were furious. Imagine how the bereaved and the survivors will feel about [Babar's] paltry sentence," Tibber said.

As the Guardian reminds us, "52 people were killed and 784 injured on 7 July 2005 when four suicide bombers detonated rucksacks filled with explosives and nails on London's transport system in the morning rush hour." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.