Bucks Free Press : Explosion plot "not known to suspect"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Explosion plot "not known to suspect"

By Lucy Clapham | June 4, 2008

A TERROR suspect had no idea his co-defendant intended to cause explosions and made a "suicide video" as "propaganda", a court was told.

Umar Islam, formerly of High Wycombe, had no knowledge of explosions planned for an airport, jurors heard.

In his third day of evidence, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, the first accused to give evidence, said the 30-year-old was someone who "really enjoyed helping out".

Ali denies prosecution claims that the defendants plotted to smuggle bombs disguised as soft drink bottles onto planes and detonate them, killing thousands.

Instead they wanted to set off a harmless explosion in a high profile location such as the Houses of Parliament and Heathrow airport, he claims.

Islam, a former Rastafarian known as Brian Young, agreed to be filmed making threats and demands in an al-Qaeda style video, which was due to be posted on video website YouTube.

Lawrence McNulty QC, representing Islam, suggested to Ali the plan to carry out explosions was never mentioned to his client.

Ali replied: "No."

Ali warned Islam making the video could cause problems for him, but that it may present an opportunity for him to emigrate to Pakistan, jurors heard.

Islam and Ali first met in Pakistan in January 2003 while working for the Islamic Medical Association, an aid charity, the trial at Woolwich Crown Court was told.

The idea of the video was first suggested to Islam when the pair met again in July 2006.

But Ali described it as a documentary showing footage of previous conflicts and wars, interspersed with people speaking.

Ali told the court: "I told him going on marches and stuff was a waste of time. Even doing aid work is not addressing the problem."

But when they met a few weeks later the idea of the film had changed to making "martyrdom" videos.

The court heard Ali had drafted a loose script for Islam to read out on the video, which has been shown at the trial.

The pair met on August 9, 2006 to film the video at a flat in Walthamstow, just hours before Ali was arrested along with High Wycombe co-defendant Assad Sarwar.

He also admitted in court today to being responsible for changing the security procedures at airports following his arrest, which saw the banning of liquid items in hand luggage at airports.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, asked him: "What do you feel responsible for?"

Ali replied: "For my co-defendants to go through this difficulty, for the problems I have caused I suppose.

"In regard to what's happening at the airports and stuff.

"The banning of bottles and all these other things and long queues."

Mr Wright told the court that at the time of his arrest Ali and his co-conspirators had enough chemicals to, when mixed, cause "an explosion of quite devastating consequence".

Mr Wright went on to allege that Ali had received instructions on his "mission" from people higher up the "chain of command".

He added: "You received instructions on what to obtain, on how to construct it and how to reap the greatest harvest of death."

Ali replied: "That's totally not true."

The men deny conspiracy to murder and endanger aircraft. The trial continues.