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ECtHR / Applications nos. 50541/08, 50571/08, 50573/08 and 40351/09 / Judgment

Ibrahim and Others v. The United Kingdom

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
European Court of Human Rights
Deciding Body:
Grand Chamber
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

  1. On 7 July 2005 four suicide bombs exploded on three underground trains and a bus in central London, killing fifty-two people and injuring hundreds more.
  2. Two weeks later, on 21 July 2005, the first three applicants and a fourth man, Mr Hussain Osman, detonated four bombs on three underground trains and a bus in central London. On 23 July 2005 a fifth bomb was discovered abandoned and undetonated in a London park. Mr Manfo Asiedu was later identified as the fifth conspirator.
  3. Although the four bombs were detonated, in each case the main charge, liquid hydrogen peroxide, failed to explode. Subsequent testing revealed that this was most likely the result of an inadequate concentration of the hydrogen peroxide necessary for it to explode given the amount of TATP (acetone peroxide, a primary explosive) used as a detonator. The evidence showed that had the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide been higher or the TATP stronger, the bombs would have been viable.
  4. The first three applicants and Mr Osman all fled the scenes of their attempted explosions. Images of the four men were, however, captured by closed-circuit television (“CCTV”) cameras. A nationwide police manhunt began and photographs and the CCTV images of the men were broadcast on national television and published in national newspapers. On 22 July 2005 a young man was shot and killed on the London underground by police after being mistaken for Mr Osman (see Armani Da Silva v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 5878/08, 30 March 2016). In the days that followed, the four men were arrested, the first three applicants in England between 27 and 29 July and Mr Osman in Rome, Italy, on 30 July. They were tried and convicted for conspiracy to murder.
  5. The fourth applicant gave Mr Osman shelter at his home in London during the period when Mr Osman was on the run from the police and before he fled to Rome. The police interviewed the fourth applicant in England on 27 and 28 July 2005 and arrested him on the latter date. In separate proceedings, he was tried and convicted of assisting Mr Osman and failing to disclose information after the event.
  6. The details of the applicants’ arrests and initial police questioning are set out more fully below.


Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:


  1. Holds, by fifteen votes to two, that there has been no violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) of the Convention in respect of the first three applicants;
  2. Holds, by eleven votes to six, that there has been a violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) of the Convention in respect of the fourth applicant;
  3. Holds, by sixteen votes to one,
  • that the respondent State is to pay the fourth applicant, within three months, the sum of EUR 16,000 (sixteen thousand euros), inclusive of any tax that may be chargeable to him, in respect of costs and expenses, to be converted into pounds sterling at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
  • that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
  1. Dismisses, by thirteen votes to four, the remainder of the fourth applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.