Fears for family halt terror trial
Press Association | September 18, 2006
The fertiliser terror trial at the Old Bailey was dramatically stopped on Monday when one of the accused refused to continue giving evidence.
Omar Khyam, 24, said he was worried about the safety of his family in Pakistan.
Khyam, who is accused with six others of plotting a bombing campaign of Britain with more than half a ton of fertiliser explosive, was the first to give evidence.
He entered the witness box last week and spent two days talking about going to Pakistan to receive military training and then "working for the cause" to free Islamic lands. After speaking on Friday afternoon about raising money for Afghanistan using fraud, he was due to talk about the fertiliser on Monday morning.
The men, accused of being a British al Qaida linked cell, were arrested in March 2004 after the fertiliser was discovered in a west London storage depot.
Khyam had denied planning operations for English targets but had yet to explain why he allegedly bought it. Asked by his counsel, Joel Bennathan, whether he had bought the fertiliser with the help of others, he said he would not go on.
Khyam said: "Before we go on to that topic, I just want to say the ISI (Pakistani secret services) in Pakistan has had words with my family relating to what I have been saying about them. I think they are worried I might reveal more about them, so right now, as much as I want to clarify matters, the priority for me has to be the safety of my family so I am going to stop. I am not going to discuss anything related to the ISI any more or the evidence."
The court was adjourned for lawyers to consider the situation.
Khyam, his brother Shujah Mahmood, 19, Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Jawad Akbar, 23, all from Crawley, Sussex, Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire, Anthony Garcia, 24, of Ilford, east London, and Nabeel Hussain, 21, of Horley, Surrey, deny conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between January 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004.
Khyam, Garcia and Hussain also deny a charge under the Terrorism Act of possessing 1,300lb (600kg) of ammonium nitrate fertiliser for terrorism. Khyam and Shujah Mahmood further deny possessing aluminium powder for terrorism.
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