Home | News    Saturday 17 January 2004

Family of Heathrow ammunition suspect claims British frame-up

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KHARTOUM, Jan 17 (AFP) — The family of a Sudanese man charged with carrying live ammunition on a flight from Washington to London’s Heathrow airport accused British intelligence of planting the bullets on him.

Al-Waseilah al-Hibir al-Waseilah’s uncle told AFP he believed British agents wanted to show that security at US airports was too lax.

"This is an entirely fabricated story as part of a war between the security services in Britain and the United States," said Al-Tayeb al-Waseilah.

He also alleged that the case was part of a "war by the West against Islam" although he insisted his nephew was not an Islamist.

Al-Waseilah al-Hibir al-Waseilah is "not a fanatic and has never been a member or sympathiser of an Islamic organisation or even a political party," he said.

He was arrested at a transit lounge security check point on Wednesday after he came off a Virgin Atlantic flight from Dulles airport in the US capital.

He was held under Britain’s Terrorism Act 2000, but he was charged Friday in connection with the ammunition — reportedly five bullets of two types — allegedly found in his possession.

His arrest called into question the level of security at Dulles, one of the biggest US airports, less than a week after the US national terrorist threat level was lowered from elevated to high.

Al-Tayeb al-Waseilah said his 45-year-old nephew was travelling to Sudan to mourn his father, who recently died.

He questioned why his nephew would be carrying bullets to "receive condolences on the death of his father."

He said that Al-Waseilah al-Hibir al-Waseilah travelled to the United States in 1999 after winning a visa lottery and that he previously worked as a medical assistant at the Khartoum Eye Hospital.

He added that one of Al-Waseilah al-Hibir al-Waseilah’s cousins who lives in London was asked by British authorities to prepare for his release on bail.

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