Palestinian researcher suspended over 1990s bomb role

Have your say

A researcher at London Metropolitan University has been suspended after it emerged he was convicted 17 years ago for his involvement in a car bombing of the Israeli embassy.

Palestinian-born Jawad Botmeh was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 1996 after he was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions in the UK.

Released from jail in 2008, Botmeh has been working as a research manager at London Met’s Working Lives Research Institute (WLRI) for five years.

The Unison union said union activist and London Met research administrator Max Watson was also suspended.

Professor Steve Jefferys, director of London Met’s Faculty Advanced Institute for Research (FAIR) and head of WLRI, became a third person to be suspended, on Wednesday, for “potential gross misconduct”, the union said.

Botmeh and Samar Alami planned to sabotage the Middle East peace process when two car bombs were set off outside the embassy and the offices of a Jewish charity in north London. No one was killed.

Unison’s London Met Uni branch insists that Botmeh declared his conviction when he applied for the role. Prof Jefferys put Botmeh forward to be interviewed some five years ago as a part-time casual administrative worker.

A London Met spokesman said: “London Metropolitan University has a duty of care to all its staff, students and partners. It is undertaking investigations.”

Last year, the Government revoked London Met’s highly-trusted sponsor status for sponsoring international students after more than a quarter of a sample of those studying at the university did not have permission to stay in the country.