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04 May 2012

Al Qaeda terrorist convicted over New York subway plot

childrenbinladen.jpgAn al Qaeda member who plotted a suicide bomb attack on the New York subway system has been convicted following testimony from a British terrorist.

Adis Medunjanin, 28, now faces life in prison after a jury found him guilty of a host of terror offences.

His conviction came following testimony from Saajid Badat, a Gloucester man who was convicted in the UK in 2005 after admitting his involvement a plot to take a ‘shoe bomb’ on board a transatlantic flight.

Despite having never met Medunjanin, the testimony of Badat, 33, was deemed crucial by US prosecutors.

He had his 13-year sentence reduced by two years after agreeing to turn ‘supergrass’ and co-operate with the US and British authorities.

The secret nature of the deal, which included British taxpayers funding Badat’s accommodation and bills, was widely criticised when it emerged at the start of Medunjanin’s trial last month.

During his two-and-a-half-hour video testimony Badat told the US court details about the training methods used by al Qaeda and testified about individuals who ran the camps.

Those details tallied with information given by two of Medunjanin’s accomplices, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, both 27.

Zazi and Zarein had previously pleaded guilty to the Subway bomb plot and were testifying against Medunjanin, a Bosnian-born US citizen, at Brooklyn Federal Court in New York.

The three had travelled to Pakistan to train for the attack and planned to detonate their suicide bombs just days before the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

US Attorney General Eric Holder has called the plot "one of the most serious terrorist threats" to the United States since the 9/11 attacks.

A lawyer for Medunjanin argued that his client had dropped out of the plot and did not plan to go through with the attack.

But he was found guilty on Tuesday of all nine counts against him including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda. The jury had deliberated for less than a day.

Medunjanin will be sentenced on September 7 when he faces a possible life sentence.



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