"Dirty bomber" Barot attacked in jail

LONDON (Reuters) - A man serving 30 years in jail for planning “dirty bomb” attacks in Britain and plotting to blow up U.S. financial institutions has been scarred for life after an attack in prison, his lawyer said on Monday.

A police handout photograph released on November 6, 2006 shows Dhiren Barot. Barot, serving 30 years in jail for planning "dirty bomb" attacks in Britain and plotting to blow up U.S. financial institutions, has been scarred for life after an attack in prison, his lawyer said on Monday. REUTERS/Handout

Dhiren Barot, 35, considered by British and U.S. officials to be one of al Qaeda’s most senior operatives in Europe after admitting conspiracy to murder last year, suffered a “horrific assault” last Friday, according to his lawyer Muddassar Arani.

She said a prisoner at the maximum security Frankland Prison in Durham had thrown boiling water on Barot’s back which had led to a “physical punch up”. Later while attending to his burns, another inmate poured boiling oil over his head.

“Eesa (Dhiren) Barot has suffered various burns to his hands, forehead, head, neck and back. Eesa Barot as a result of the boiling oil having been poured over him has lost all of his hair,” Arani said in a statement.

“Barot is suffering from extensive pain and has been scarred for the rest of his life.”

The Ministry of Justice said it could not comment on individuals but confirmed a prisoner at Frankland had been treated for scalding on the back of his head and his back.

“The Prison Service is currently investigating the incident and have alerted the police,” the ministry said in a statement.

Barot is one of the most high-profile prisoners convicted of terrorism offences in Britain since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

He pleaded guilty to planning to blow up the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange, Citigroup, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Prudential in New York, Washington and Newark, New Jersey.

He later turned his attention to Britain, plotting variously to blow up limousines packed with explosives in underground car parks, to set off radioactive “dirty bombs” and to detonate a bomb on a train beneath the River Thames.

Had any of his plans come to fruition, a judge said he would have caused the “mass murder of innocent citizens”.

Arani said the attack on Barot raised fears that Muslim prisoners would be targeted in jail and accused the prison authorities of not doing enough to protect them.

“We are not asking for preferential treatment for Muslim prisoners -- what we are requesting is that Muslim prisoners should be afforded the same protection as other prisoners,” she said.