Seven more arrested, bringing total to 35

 

London bombings: The seven people arrested in Sussex, southern England, yesterday were the latest of more than 30 to have been scooped up in an attempt to find those responsible for the July 7th and 21st attacks and anyone who may have helped them.

Last night 18 people were still in custody in London and Sussex as a result of all the raids and arrests that have taken place so far. More are anticipated this week. One man remains in custody in Rome.

Yesterday evening a man was arrested at 5pm at Stockport train station in northern England under the Terrorism Act, Greater Manchester police said. It was not clear if the arrest was linked to the London bombings.

After the main arrests in London and Rome last Friday, police are analysing the findings from their searches of the flats raided in west London.

They also hope that fingerprints and DNA samples found in some of the 18 locations raided in London, Birmingham and Brighton, will help to point them towards other back-up members of the teams whom they believe to be still at large.

While there has been widespread relief at last Friday's arrests inside the 1,000-strong team investigating the bomb attacks - and some of those involved have had their first day off since the bombs exploded - there is a recognition that there are many others at large who may be planning future explosions.

In all, 35 people have been arrested since July 7th in London, Birmingham, Rome and Brighton.

Of those, 15 have been released without charge, 19 remain in custody, one of whom is being held on alleged immigration offences, and one has been released on police bail. Charges in the cases of some of those held are possible by the end of this week.

Those detained under the Terrorism Act have to be released or charged within 14 days so decisions on those detained in the earliest raids are imminent.

Police are trying to match the finds, including traces of explosives, from flats and lock-up garages in west London, Stockwell and New Southgate to establish what the links are between them.

Officers involved in the investigation say they are conscious that they have the additional task of preparing evidence in the event of future trials and are cautious about saying anything on the record that could prejudice a case.

Lawyers representing those detainees who will eventually stand trial will be monitoring the media coverage.

Trials of terrorist suspects almost routinely start with the presentation to the presiding judge of media coverage of the initial arrests.

Lawyers are likely to argue that their clients will be unable to get a fair trial because they have been clearly identified as the bombers by name and photo.

Although judges have expressed disapproval of some of the pre-trial coverage, it has never looked likely that they would allow such coverage to abort a trial.

They have been more concerned by references to suspects during the course of the trials. Under the contempt laws, once the men have been charged, nothing beyond the details of the charges can be referred to in connection with them.

The current period, between arrest and possible charge, is more of a legal grey area but there are greater restrictions on media coverage than before the arrests.