|Samar is a Lebanese-Palestinian woman who was born in Lebanon in 1965. She has lived in Britain since 1984 and was granted residence in the U.K. in September 1994. Samar finished her schooling at a college in Wales, and followed that with a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from University College, London, in 1987. In 1988, she obtained a M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London. She also received an M.Sc. in Water Resources Engineering from City University in December 1996, having submitted her thesis on water resources management in Lebanon at the end of the trial, days before she was sentenced.
Samar has long been interested and involved in campaigning for Palestinian freedom and human rights issues. On the professional side, Samar worked as a junior/graduate engineer for a couple of years, then for short period for an environmental consultancy firm in London, and as a volunteer health advocate with minority families in east London. Like most Palestinian students, Samar was involved in the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS). She was Vice Chairwoman of the UK General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), and was involved in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Palestine Community Association. She was also member of Amnesty International, the Newham Monitoring Project and the National Women's Network. Thus, she was concerned with anti-racist and human rights work and work on behalf of women's issues, and organised and participated in numerous educational, cultural, charity and community events
Her various interests naturally resulted in her amassing a large volume of political pamphlets, magazines, books and other publications, but the prosecution used all of this as evidence against her. Samar did not remove any of this 'evidence', despite having numerous opportunities to do so. Her behaviour before and after the bombings was normal. She went on a family holiday in France between 18-24 July 1994, a time during which the true conspirators would have been planning the most important stages of the bombings on the 26 July. She then spent October 1994 in Lebanon researching her M.Sc. thesis but returned to England, clearly not attempting to 'escape'.
Samar's family is rooted in Lebanon and Gaza; they are well known and respected in the Arab world. Her father managed the Arab Bank in Lebanon for three decades, and her mother was one of the first women in south Lebanon to go to the co-educational American University of Beirut. Unfortunately, much of her family's history also sadly reflects the cruel suffering inflicted on Palestinians. As Samar explained to the police after she was first arrested, "One of the reasons we came to London is to avoid all this trauma. I condemn the acts because I am against blind violenceI'm disappointed there are still problems, there are still bombings."
Dozens of letters were received in her support when applying for bail as well as in requesting mitigation of the sentence. She was described as being: very pleasant, friendly, polite, reliable and conscientious person, kind, gentle, calm, modest, giving, generous, selfless etc. Samar likes walking in the fresh open air, swimming, badminton, cinema going, music, and cartoons.
||Jawad is a Jordanian national of Palestinian origin. He was born in 1967 in Bethlehem in the West Bank, and is the oldest of five children. He grew up in nearby Battir until the age of 17. He then came to England in 1985, did his A-levels at a college in Loughborough and went to Leicester University where he obtained a BSc in Electric and Electronic Engineering in 1991. He also studied for an M.Sc. in Electronic Engineering at King's College, London.
Jawad comes from an educated and respected family who are well-known in the local area and have contributed much to the development of their town. His mother is a high school teacher and his father is a bank officer. Jawad's grandfather is also famous in the region for his voluntary work, and is the author of several books on community development. His uncle was an MP for Bethlehem in the Jordanian Parliament.
As elsewhere in the West Bank during the Intifada, in Battir, Israeli soldiers often subjected the village to forms of collective punishment. Some of Jawad's friends and relatives have been detained by Israeli soldiers for months without charge, many have had their homes searched and destroyed and others have been tortured and beaten. Jawad himself has been beaten by Israeli soldiers. In separate incidents, Israeli soldiers killed his cousin as she was getting off a bus on her way to university in Bethlehem. Another cousin, his best friend, died after he was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier and was not allowed to pass through a checkpoint to get to a hospital. No action against the soldiers was taken in either case. Jawad would have suffered a similar plight had he not been in England at the time.
Unsurprisingly, Jawad has been involved in campaigning for Palestinian human rights. He was on the national executive of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), and he was also president of the Palestinian Society at Leicester University. He has organised various events and seminars for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and has been involved with the National Union of Students, Leicester University studentsâ union, the anti-apartheid movement and various other anti-racist campaigns. Jawad has also worked as a translator for a British charity working to provide education and training opportunities for refugees.
At university he started buying and selling second hand cars. He has done a lot of freelancing and he briefly ran an export business, "Keeton", with his friend who was also a co-defendant in this trial, but who was acquitted by the jury. Jawad's interest in various political issues obviously led him to own a number of political books and magazines, but these were wholly misinterpreted by the police and the prosecution who insisted that they showed only that he was involved in terrorist explosions in the United Kingdom.
But Jawad says, "We were involved in that process [campaigning for Palestinian rights] no matter how little our contribution meant to the result. But under no circumstances would we put that at risk, because it fundamentally goes against our ideology, policy and practices. It would be self-harm. Or else why would I, or Samar, ever get involved in student politics and NGOs and spend years campaigning peacefully if what we really wanted to do was use violence against Israelis in London? "They [the bombings] are totally counter-productive".