British Airways worker guilty of plane bomb plot
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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 11:00
London: A jury convicted a former British Airways computer specialist on Tuesday of plotting with US-born extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to blow up an airplane in an attack intended to kill hundreds of people.

Rajib Karim, a 31-year-old Bangladeshi man, was convicted of four counts of engaging in preparation for terrorist attacks. He had already pleaded guilty to five other terrorism offenses, but denied plotting an attack in Britain.

A jury deliberated for 16 hours before agreeing with prosecutors who said Karim used his position at the airline to conspire with al-Awlaki, a notorious radical preacher associated with al-Qaida and thought to be hiding in Yemen. At one point, encouraged by al-Awlaki, he applied for training as a flight attendant.

Colin Gibbs, a counterterrorism lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Karim "was plotting with the cleric to use his job at BA to kill hundreds of innocent people."

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

Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw told the court that Karim "sought work in this country of the sort which would be useful to him or a terrorist organisation in planning an attack — an attack of the sort which might result in the wholesale loss of life."

Prosecutors said that in heavily encrypted exchanges, Al-Awlaki quizzed Karim about details of security flaws and urged the aspiring terrorist to train as a flight attendant to assist plans to use suicide bombers or mail bombs to down US-bound flights.


First Published: Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 11:00

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