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Updated: November 4, 2010 00:58 IST

Al-Qaeda inspired woman jailed for life

Hasan Suroor
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An undated image of Roshonara Choudhry released by Metropolitan Police. Choudhry, a student opposed to the Iraq war, was convicted on Tuesday.
AP
An undated image of Roshonara Choudhry released by Metropolitan Police. Choudhry, a student opposed to the Iraq war, was convicted on Tuesday.

A young woman student of Bangladeshi origin, alleged to have been radicalised by online sermons of Al-Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, was on Wednesday sentenced to life for trying to kill a Labour MP as “punishment” for supporting the Iraq invasion.

Roshonara Choudhry (21), who refused to appear in court reportedly on grounds that she did not accept the jurisdiction of a British court, stabbed Stephen Timms — a Minister at the time — twice with a knife at his East London constituency office in May this year.

Mr. Timms, who was hospitalised with what were described as life-threatening multiple wounds, said the burqa-clad woman looked “friendly” and was “smiling” before she pulled out a knife and started to stab him.

Choudhry's supporters protested against the sentence and raised slogans against the judge.

Police said she picked up Mr. Simms from a list of MPs who had voted in favour of the invasion. “I wanted to kill him…I was going to take revenge for the people of Iraq,” she reportedly told the police.

“She admitted without hesitation that her intention was to end her victim's life, but has succeeded only in ruining her own,” said a senior police officer.

British-born Choudhry, whose father is a tailor, was said to have been an outstanding student with no previous history of extremism.

Passing the sentence, Mr. Justice Cooke told her: “You said you wanted to be a martyr. You intended to kill in a political cause and to strike at those in government by doing so. You did so as a matter of deliberate decision making, however skewed your reasons, from listening to those Muslims who incite such action on the Internet.”

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