B`deshi software engineer jailed for 30 years in UK

A Bangladeshi-origin British Airways software engineer was on Friday jailed for 30 years for plotting to blow up a plane in association with US born al Qaeda terror leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

Updated: Mar 18, 2011, 23:46 PM IST

London: A Bangladeshi-origin British
Airways software engineer was on Friday jailed for 30 years for
plotting to blow up a plane in association with US born
al Qaeda terror leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

Rajib Karim, 31, from Newcastle used his job to access
information for an al Qaeda preacher based in Yemen to target
BA`s flights in the USA.

Sentencing him at Woolwich Crown Court, Justice
Calvert-Smith said he was a committed jihadist who planned
offences "about as grave as could be imagined".

The judge said he had worked "incessantly" for
terrorist purposes.

Karim who had sought a British passport, had kept his
true intentions secret from colleagues at BA, Justice
Calvert-Smith said.

He said Karim was a "willing follower" who could have
brought serious harm and death to civilians had his planning
with others come to anything.

Karim, who had a British wife and a child, was told
he faced deportation after he had completed his sentence.

The judge told the court: "The offences were of the
utmost gravity. You are and were a committed jihadist who
understood his duty to his religion involves fighting and,
God-willing, dying and then being rewarded in the afterlife.

"It is a feature of this case that none of those who
worked with you at British Airways had even the slightest
notion of what was going on."

The court had heard Karim hid his hatred for the West
from colleagues by joining a gym, playing football and never
airing extreme views.

At the same time he was using his access to the
airline`s offices in Newcastle upon Tyne and at London`s
Heathrow airport to pass on sensitive information.

He was found guilty last month of four counts of
preparing acts of terrorism.

He and his brother had contacted radical preacher
Anwar al-Awlaki, a key figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula, saying they wanted to fight jihad overseas.

Anwar al-Awlaki`s perfect grasp of English has made
him attractive to Western jihadists But Awlaki, a US-born
preacher, persuaded Karim to stay at BA and find a way of
getting a bomb on a plane, saying the IT worker could be the
breakthrough al Qaeda was looking for.

Karim agreed to work with Awlaki and said he would
also look at whether he could crash BA`s computer systems,
bringing chaos to international travel.

The father-of-one, who was raised in a middle-class
family in Dhaka, was described as "mild-mannered,
well-educated and respectful".

According to BBC, throughout the trial, the court
heard he was under the influence of his brother Tehzeeb who
had spearheaded the attempts to contact Awlaki.

It has now emerged that while Tehzeeb was initially
held in Yemen, he was later released and has returned to
Bangladesh.

In mitigation, James Wood QC said there had been no
settled target or plan between Karim and his al Qaeda contact.
Karim`s plotting had been embryonic, he argued.

There was "every prospect" the talk between Awlaki
and Karim would have come to nothing.

Karim pleaded guilty to further terrorism offences
before the trial began, admitting he was involved with
extremists who wanted to overthrow Bangladesh`s government.

The judge praised the Met Police`s counter terrorism
command for their painstaking work decrypting 300 of Karim`s
coded messages.

Officers described the task as the "most
sophisticated" of its kind the team had ever undertaken.

PTI