British Airways worker from Bangladesh guilty of plane terror plot

Karim was plotting to blow up a plane after conspiring with Anwar al-Awlaki.

Last Updated: Mar 01, 2011, 00:03 AM IST

London: A Bangladeshi Islamic militant working for British Airways was found guilty on Monday of plotting to blow up a plane after conspiring with radical US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Rajib Karim, 31, was "committed to an extreme jihadist and religious cause" and was "determined to seek martyrdom", jurors at Woolwich Crown Court in London were told.

The jury convicted Karim of four counts of preparing terror attacks.

The IT worker, who moved with his wife and son to Newcastle in 2006, had admitted being involved in the production of a terrorist group`s video, fundraising and volunteering for terror abroad.

Karim, a privately-educated member of a middle-class family in Dhaka, was lured into becoming a staunch supporter of a radical organisation called Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh by his younger brother, Tehzeeb.

The trial heard that he had attempted to move from his IT role within the airline to become a member of cabin crew.

Colin Gibbs, a counter-terrorism lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, described Karim`s determination to plan an attack as "frightening".

"The most chilling element of this case is probably the fact that Karim tried to enrol as cabin crew and anyone can imagine how horrific the consequences of this could have been, had he succeeded," Gibbs said.

The jury found Karim guilty of plotting to blow up an aircraft, sharing information of use to Awlaki, offering to help financial or disruptive attacks on BA and gaining a job in Britain to exploit terrorist purposes.

The bearded Karim, who showed no emotion as the jury delivered their verdict, had argued that he only moved to Britain to seek treatment for his son whom he feared had bowel cancer.

He will be sentenced on March 18.

The prosecution said Karim started to communicate in late 2009 with Awlaki, who is believed to have been hiding in a remote area of Yemen since 2007.

Karim is the latest in a line of young men inspired to militancy by Awlaki`s endorsement of violence as a religious duty.

A top US official recently described US-born Awlaki as "probably the most significant risk" to the United States.

Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told US lawmakers on February 9 that he posed a danger because of his influence both within and outside the United States.

Awlaki is suspected of being a leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and of instigating a string of attacks against the United States.

Bureau Report