Iranian Embassy Siege Gunman may soon be released

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Surviving gunman from embassy siege may go free
By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent
21 June 2005

For six days in May 1980, millions of Britons were gripped by the fate of 26 hostages held by six gunmen at the Iranian embassy in Princes Gate, London.

The live BBC broadcast reached its grisly climax when the terrorists murdered one of their captives and threw his body out of the building. It was a savage act that prompted the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, to order the SAS to storm the embassy. In the ensuing gun battle only one of the gunmen survived.

Fowzi Badavi Nejad, 48, who escaped by passing himself off as one of the hostages, was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to murder at the Old Bailey in 1981.

This month he will appear before a prison parole board which is expected to recommend his release. It is a ruling that will present the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, with a serious political headache and one that his predecessor, David Blunkett, had done all that he could to delay.

The gunmen, including Nejad, were all Iranian members of the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan, which was sponsored by Saddam Hussein and used in his campaign to destabilise his neighbour as precursor for the Iran-Iraq war.

Nejad's membership of a proscribed terror organisation and his indirect role in the killings of two hostages, both Iranian embassy staff, means he is certain to face the death penalty if he is deported.

His lawyers are expected to make an application for political asylum that the Home Office will find hard to resist. But their first task will be to persuade the parole board that he is a prisoner who is now suitable for release.

Nejad's lawyer, John Dickinson, of the law firm Irwin Mitchell, says that while his client has made real progress in prison the Government has shown no interest in helping him prepare for his release.

This was confirmed last year when the Court of Appeal backed the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, in his decision to reduce Nejad's tariff, the punitive part of his sentence, from 25 to 22 years. The judges said Mr Blunkett had shown no good reason to disregard the advice of Lord Woolf that 22 years was a fair tariff.

Part of Nejad's case for his release is that 25 years later he is a very different man to the young guerrilla who took part in the siege in 1980. His representatives will argue that he no longer poses any risk to society.

It is also thought that testimony gathered from some of the hostages shows that towards the end of the siege Nejad may have used his influence to prevent further killings. Certainly two of the gunmen, guarding the hostages, appeared to have already surrendered just before the SAS soldiers burst into the room.

Nejad's case has divided those who survived the terrible events of May 1980. Some, such as the former hostage Ahmad Dadgar, 62, who was shot by the gunmen in the closing stages of the siege, have signed a petition calling for Nejad's release because he has served his sentence. Others, such as PC Trevor Lock, who was awarded a George Cross for his bravery in capturing the leader of the gunmen as the SAS entered the building, wants "life to mean life" for Nejad.

Even if Nejad is freed later this month and goes on to win political asylum in Britain he faces an uncertain and difficult future. It will be bad enough that he has to begin his new life as a convicted terrorist in a foreign country but he also knows that the publicity surrounding his own release will further threaten the safety of the family he left behind in Khuzestan, northern Iran, 25 years ago.
Very tricky this one

Is he a reformed character and has he served enough time?

This issue has cropped up with very embarassing timing for Charles Clarke and Tony Blair given their neo-con obsession with Global Terror.

What does seem certain is that if he is released and sent back home he will find himself dangling from a crane in fairly short order. On that basis can he rightfully claim asylum?


Book Reviewer
Release him for five minutes and then arrest him under the Terrorist Act for acting suspiciously like a terrorist. Lock him up again, this time with no trial and no reason given for why you did it.
his terrorist organisation is probably defunct now that saddam has gone
although theres probably a job waiting for him with the CIA if he fancys another crack at the mullahs
He would probably prefer to rot in Belmarsh than be deported back to Iran
I forsee a good line in after dinner speeches. Maybe even lecturing to new recruits at Hereford on what it is like to be on the receiving end of their handiwork and what is going through their mind when the charges go off!
This is ONE reason the UK needs a death penalty. That moron should have been hung by the gallows. Bring back public executions, I say...


Book Reviewer
umm...actually Phil, he's lucky to have kept breathing for the last 25 years....when the Hereford hooligans ID'd him as perp rather than victim they were only restrained from taking him back inside the building (and making it a clean sweep ) when someone pointed out they were on live national TV at that point....

Scroll fwd to Fallujah 2004.....

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose 8)

Le Chevre
There also seems to be real divsion amongst the survivng hostages who can't agree on his fate. Some support his claim for freedom and others just want him to remain locked up.........

The call for Nejad's release was also backed by Ahmad Dadgar, 62, who was shot six times by gunmen - in the back, hands and legs - as he dived for cover under a chair. One of the bullets narrowly missed his heart.

Mr Dadgar, who worked at the embassy and now has to take 11 pills a day as a result of his injuries, said: "I don't have any hard feelings. Nejad should be asked where he would like to go ... be given the choice of where he wants to live. He can't go to Iran."

However, embassy police guard Pc Trevor Lock, who was awarded a George Cross for tackling the gunmen's leader, disagreed.

He said: "This guy was as bad as the rest. He was the only one of the gunmen I didn't connect with at all. On one occasion he even shot over the head of the charges d'affaires for his own amusement.

"For such a serious crime life should mean life, but if they let him out I'll just have to accept it. I don't have to agree with it."
Coming at a time when relations with Iran are at an all time low Charles Clarke will have to deal with it very carefully
I'd personally bring back the death penalty specially for him, or derogate from the Human Rights Act and send him back to Iran as a "goodwill" gesture. I'm sure the Iranian security police would have some uses for him as a figure eleven for their car battery-powered scrotum-clamp.

Failing that he could open up his own school for Crap Terrorists.

As it is, he'll probably get a gig doing a column on Middle East politics for The Guardian or Indy.

Nah...........let John Mcaleese, Robin horsfall and the boys finish the job they weren't allowed to in 1980 - save the taxpayer some money, Tap-tap 9mm 2z - nice 'n cheap.
This is a tough one right enough; do we have any information on why the parole board will grant his release?

My thinking is this....

He has spent a lengthy prison sentence doing what? I want to know if this man has furthered himself and is in anyway shape or form a reformed character, we all hold political views and are willing to go to some levels to make them known Iran at the time was under a new and extreme form of government. Were his actions then the same as they would be now under the moderate rule Iran is now under?

I fear there are too many questions we're unable to answer to make an informed comment on the fate of this individual.

And what if we do, who do we apply it to and why? Justification of punishment is the sign of a civilised society.


He was one man of a terrorist group who sieged the Iranian Embassy. During which innocent men, who didn't deserve their fate (although by some accounts one relished it), were killed.

The prisoner didn't give a fcuk about the hostages life, so why should anyone care about his?

Ship him back to Iran. He is an asylum seeker by choice, ie the choice to take hostages. His decision, his fault, tough sh1t sunshine if you made the wrong one.

He has also commited an offence on British soil, so again should be shipped back, as any other foreigner should be at the end of his sentance. (like those terrorist hostage takers from the aircraft recently, all living in rather nice 4 bed detached houses with cars and mobiles on the British tax payer).

Just because he is sorry now, will not bring back the dead.

"Now boarding at gate 4, Iranian Airways 4532."
Ozgerbobble wrote

"Nejad's lawyer, John Dickinson, of the law firm Irwin Mitchell, says that while his client has made real progress in prison the Government has shown no interest in helping him prepare for his release."

Why should the Government give a rats ass? He is a foreigner, never paid any taxes and is a fcuking murdering terrorist, kidnapper to boot.

I'm sure John Dickinson and the "law" firm Irwin Mitchell will make a tidy sum out of this though.

Nejad should pay for his own ticket too!!!!
The Parole Board will have looked at this case on an individual basis. They will have taken into consideration the character of the individual, the crime and any efforts he has made to become a reformed character. They then make recommendations to the Home secretary, who has the ultimate say in whether the individual is released or not. We, as servicemen (or former), tend to be slightly right wing in our outlook, but what do we know of this man except his crime? That is why we have the Parole Board. More about the Parole Board can be found at:

Once he is released, he will probably be deported but should he be allowed to stay in the UK, he will be subject ot special rules, just like any other 'lifer' released on parole. The first point is that all 'lifers' are released on licence - this means they are released on licence to be supervised in the community. The aims of post-release supervision are to protect the public, prevent further offences and secure the rehabilitation of the offender. Prisoners are allocated a supervising officer in their home area who keeps in regular contact during the time spent in custody. The supervising officer discusses with the prisoner his or her plans for release, such as where they are going to live, if they need a hostel place, if they have any job plan or training needs. Prison-based probation staff will also assist with assessing any treatment or other development needs, such as addressing drug or alcohol-related offending - and any reoffending automatically attracts a custodial sentence.

I am not saying that this system is right or wrong, but it appears to me that we can jump to conclusions without knowing all (or any) of the facts. For what it's worth, I think he should be packed of to Iran as soon as he is out the prison gates.

Standing by for incoming.


Errrr, can I express a contrary view?

The guy has done 25 years inside and, as someone pointed out, had a very narrow escape when he was discovered to be a terrorist rather than a hostage out on the lawn at the back of the embassy (actually it was the Met Police that saved him). When he came to Britain for this attack, he was a young, naive idealist who had been convinced by the Iraqi Mukhabarat that the West would tacitly support terrorist operations against Revolutionary Iran (remember, the Iranians were still holding the US Embassy staff hostage at this time). He and the other terrorists had been on a shopping spree at Harrods etc before the attack, and had freighted home loads of clothes and goodies for when they got back to Iraq: they clearly saw it as a quick 'in and out' job.

Obviously they fecked up, people got killed, and he deserved a considerable and lengthy punishment for what he did. However, the reason he survived was because he was guarding the women and when B Squadron went in, he didn't start shooting: the female hostages persuaded him to put his weapons down.

I don't condone terrorism in any way, but the reality is that terrorist problems are essentially political problems and are really only solved through political means, although the military and police can contain them tactically. This bloke was no more than a footsoldier and, at best, a patsy in a much bigger game which has now been essentially resolved, through a 25 year evolution from western support for Saddam Hussein, to his being forcibly deposed by the US with our help.

Mr 'Nejad' deserved his punishment for what he did, but he has now served well over the usual 'tariff' for murder lifers and he also deserves a fair hearing in front of the parole board. I think he has reasonable grounds to ask for parole, and if I'm really honest, I think he has reasonable grounds to ask for asylum as well.
i think i saw one of 'them' on the telly quite recently saying that this bloke had done his time and that was the end of it.

i think he's got reasonable grounds for asylum, yes he commited a serious crime but he was tried in a decent court and given a heavy sentance which he has served. if he does go back to iran he - and more importantly his family - could be in very deep poo.

time to decide what we fight for, a liberal democracy that holds life dear, or a nasty, vindictive little group of adolesants who get kicks from causing pain just because they can.
Oracle Wrote
"We, as servicemen (or former), tend to be slightly right wing in our outlook."

Ah now I know why I feel comfatable on this board.
I had a lot of buckshee booze bought for me as a Brit serviceman by our cousins from across the sea when the embassy seige happened.
Let him go.
I mean, how old was he and what was he promised at the time?
No, I am not condoning his actions nor any form of terrorism - but IRA terrorists were let free by Bliar and they really did know what they were doing and had it far too easy!
me n bee wrote
"but IRA terrorists were let free by Bliar and they really did know what they were doing and had it far too easy!

Yes correct in all respects.
Free by Blur.
Didn't know.
Far too easy.

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