|Naseer and co-conspirators in a surveillance photo submitted |
as evidence during the trial [Image Source]
Abid Naseer, 28, was found guilty by a New York jury of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device. He faces up to life imprisonment at sentencing. Evidence at Naseer's trial included a document found in the raid of the bin Laden compound and MI5 officers testifying in wigs.The nonsense about the terrorist looking for a woman to love him is taken apart in a New York Post article: "Online code word for al Qaeda mall attack was ‘marriage’: prosecutors".
A jury returned the verdict after a day of deliberation following closing arguments on Monday. Prosecutors argued Naseer was part of a broader al-Qaeda conspiracy to attack various Western locations, including a Manchester shopping centre and the New York subway system.
Abid Naseer... was previously arrested in the UK over a bomb plot in Manchester
In closing arguments on Monday, prosecutors said Naseer lied about his history during his defence, including becoming radicalised in Pakistan.
"If the defendant hadn't been stopped, hundreds of innocent men, women and children wouldn't be alive today," prosecutor Zainab Ahmed said during closing arguments... Naseer, who represented himself in court, said in closing arguments the prosecution had not directly connected him to al-Qaeda. He insisted his emails were simply harmless banter about finding a wife... They also relied on the testimony of two co-conspirators who pleaded guilty to the subway plot - Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay - who said certain words in Naseer's emails about marriage were code. [BBC, "UK bomb plot suspect Abid Naseer found guilty", February 4, 2015]
Why was Naseer not prosecuted in the UK where he was arrested, but instead allowed to walk the streets freely after being picked up by police? And to file an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against being extradicted? The New York Times says
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Mr. Naseer had helped organize a plot to bomb the shopping center in April 2009. He was arrested in Britain that month, and the plot was not carried out... In the final email that Mr. Naseer sent to his purported Qaeda handler before being arrested, he said that his marriage was set for a range of dates in April and that he expected many guests. By then, prosecutors showed, Mr. Naseer had broken up with his girlfriend and was no longer speaking to her, making it unlikely that he was planning a wedding... British intelligence officers who tracked Mr. Naseer for several weeks in March and April 2009 were expected to provide key evidence against him. Instead, they testified about watching him go grocery shopping and taking the bus around Manchester... British authorities released Mr. Naseer and his alleged co-conspirators after his 2009 arrest because of a lack of evidence.Fortunately that evidentiary "lack" was cured on the other side of the Atlantic. Now angry Brits are left wondering "Why was terrorist free to walk British streets? Questions raised over UK bomb plotter" [Mirror UK, February 5, 2015], and "Police chiefs ask why Al-Qaeda plotter WASN'T prosecuted in Britain" [Express UK, today]. If true and frank answers ever emerge, we suspect they might cause some widespread British discomfort.