LONDON (Reuters) - Nine men arrested in British police raids a week ago appeared in court on Monday to face charges of conspiracy to cause explosions and preparing acts of terrorism.
The nine were among 12 men seized on December 20 in what police said were counter-terrorism raids essential to protect the public from the threat of attack. Three of the 12 were later released without charge.
The nine remaining suspects appeared at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday and were remanded in custody to appear at London’s Old Bailey court on January 14, the Press Association news agency said.
“I have today advised the police that nine men should be charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and with engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism with the intention of either committing acts of terrorism, or assisting another to commit such acts,” Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division, said in a statement.
The suspects were from London, the Welsh capital of Cardiff and the central English city of Stoke. At the time of the arrests, the BBC reported that most of them were British but they also included a small number of Bangladeshis.
A police statement said that between October 1 and November 20 they conspired to cause “explosions of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property.”
It added that between October and December 20, when the men were arrested, they had been downloading material from the Internet, researching and discussing potential targets, carrying out reconnaissance and “igniting and testing incendiary material.”
It did not specify what the potential targets were.
The BBC said in an unsourced report at the time of the arrests that they were linked to an investigation into al Qaeda-inspired attacks within Britain. The inquiry was led by the MI5 domestic security agency and the suspected plot was in its early stages, it said. Police declined to comment.
Earlier this month, a man apparently radicalized in Britain blew himself up in a botched attack in Sweden, reviving criticism of Britain’s record in tackling the threat from violent militants.
Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, editing by Mark Trevelyan