by Darren Bahaw, www.trinidadexpress.com
FORMER coup leader Imam Yasin Abu Bakr was yesterday slapped with a terrorism charge that could put him behind bars for 25 years if convicted.
Using the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act for the first time since it became law on September 13, Director of Public Prosecutions Geoffrey Henderson directed that the leader of the Jamaat al Muslimeen be charged with committing a terrorist act.
Abu Bakr, also known as Lennox Phillip, 64, was charged by Insp Christopher Holder shortly before he re-appeared before Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls on seven other criminal charges- one charge of sedition, three of incitement and three weapon related offences.
He is charged with two of his followers, Tahir Ali and Oluyemi Abdul Basit, for possession of a sniper's rifle, 596 rounds of 5.56 ammunition and a hand grenade.
The new charge alleges that Abu Bakr, during his November 4 Eid-ul-Fitr sermon at the Mucurapo Road mosque directed his followers to engage in a war in which lives may be lost over the nonpayment of zakat from members of the Muslim community who are not members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen.
Since his arrest on November 7, Abu Bakr has remained in custody without bail and in addition to the eight recent charges, he is awaiting a retrial in the High Court on a charge of conspiracy to murder two expelled members of his organisation.
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