Airline worker denies he planned attack in Britain

15th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Bangladeshi Islamic militant working for British Airways who is accused of conspiring with radical US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki told a court Tuesday he "never" planned an attack in Britain.

The prosecution says computer expert Rajib Karim, 31, was communicating with a terror cell in secret email exchanges with a view to placing a package on board a US-bound flight.

But Karim, 31, said he sent messages to his younger brother in code because of fears over torture in Bangladesh.

"The regime in Bangladesh is very brutal," he told Woolwich Crown Court in London.

He admitted helping to make a video about a radical organisation called Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh but said it was because he feared they were being "misrepresented".

The messages to his brother were written in code because any links to groups such as JMB "may link to torture", Karim said.

"That was the main reason for the encrypted information," he added.

When defence lawyer James Wood asked him: "Did you ever intend to commit an act of terrorism in the UK?", Karim replied: "Never."

He also told the court that as a devout Muslim he believed he would be "living in sin" by moving to Britain.

Karim, his wife and his toddler son settled in the country in late 2006, because, he argued, they wanted to seek treatment for the boy amid fears he had bowel cancer.

"If it had not been for that, I may still be in Bangladesh or somewhere else," he said.

Karim denies plotting to blow up a plane, sharing information which could be of use to hate groups, offering to help financial or disruptive attacks on BA and gaining a job in Britain to "exploit terrorist purposes."

He has admitted three other charges, including funding associates and volunteering for terrorism training and insurgent operations abroad.

The prosecution alleges that Karim started to communicate with Awlaki, who is believed to be in hiding in Yemen, a year ago.

It says the preacher urged him to stay in his job with the airline and provide him with information about the possibility of smuggling a package onto a plane or joining the air crew.

© 2011 AFP

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