Man charged with plot to kill British PM

LONDON • A 20-year-old man appeared in court yesterday charged with plotting to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May in a bomb and knife attack.

Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman is accused of planning an explosion outside Mrs May's Downing Street office, then trying to enter the building with a suicide vest and a knife in a bid to kill her.

State prosecutor Mark Carroll said Rahman planned to detonate an improvised explosive device at the Downing Street gates, then, in the ensuing chaos, try to enter the building "with a view to trying to kill the Prime Minister".

"The secondary attack was to be carried out with a suicide vest, pepper spray and a knife," Mr Carroll told Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

Rahman had carried out hostile reconnaissance of the area as part of his preparation, it is alleged. He was carrying two inert explosive devices when he was arrested last week, the court heard.

He is charged with preparing terrorist acts and also with assisting another man, Mohammad Aqib Imran, to prepare separate terror acts. He appeared in court alongside Imran, 21, who is accused of trying to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group by trying to obtain a fake passport with a view to travelling to Libya. The men were arrested on Nov 28.

Rahman spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. He said he was of no fixed abode and said his nationality was "Bangladeshi British. I'm Bangladeshi." Imran said he was "Pakistani British".

Both men appeared wearing grey tracksuits. Rahman had long black hair, while Imran had shorter hair and a beard. Their lawyers gave no indication of their plea on their first court appearance so not-guilty pleas were formally registered.

The two men were remanded in custody and will next appear at England's Old Bailey central criminal court on Dec 20.

The court appearance came a day after Home Secretary Amber Rudd told Parliament that 22 Islamist terror plots had been thwarted since the killing of a British soldier on a London street by two extremists in 2013.

Separately, Mrs May yesterday said she had made good progress in Brexit negotiations with the EU and that she expected to get a deal that was right for the whole of Britain. "We're leaving the European Union, we're leaving the single market and the Customs union but we will do what is right in the interests of the whole United Kingdom," she told Parliament.

EU leaders have given Mrs May a deadline of the end of this week to resolve outstanding issues in order to draft an agenda in time for an EU summit next week and open the second phase of talks.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2017, with the headline 'Man charged with plot to kill British PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe