[JURIST Europe] The largest UK trial of terrorism suspects since al Qaeda's September 11 attacks on the United States got under way in London's Old Bailey Tuesday with seven British men facing charges of planning bombings in Britain in retaliation for British support of US policy. Prosecutor David Waters [chambers profile] said the men were fully prepared and had acquired all the necessary items to go through with their plan, including 600kg of ammonium nitrate fertilizer which was confiscated in 2004 by police at a west London storage depot. The defendants had decided on "pubs, nightclubs, or trains" as potential targets. The defendants, all of Pakistani descent are: Omar Khyam, 24: Anthony Garcia, 23 (also known as Rahman Adam); Salahuddin Amin, 31; Nabeel Hussain, 20; Jawad Akbar, 22; and the Mahmood Brothers, Waheed and Shujah, 34 and 19 respectively. All seven face conspiracy charges of working with Canadian Mohammed Momin Khawaja [CBC backgrounder] between January 2003 and March 2004 to use explosive substances to cause life-endangering explosions. Khawaja is currently awaiting trial in Canada.
Waters said that most of the plan was constructed in Pakistan and Canada and the jury would be hearing evidence from Mohammed Babar, an American citizen also of Pakistani descent who worked with the defendants during their campaign and pleaded guilty to terrorism charges [CNN report] in New York in 2004. The Mahmood brothers and Khyam are charged with the possession of aluminum powder between October 2003 and March 2004 for use in terrorist acts. Khyam, Hussain, and Garcia are charged under the UK Terrorism Act 2000 [text] with possessing the fertilizer, an article for terrorism, between November 2003 and March 2004. The defendants are denying all charges. The trial is expected to last for several months. The Guardian has local coverage.
Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.