Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Ex-BA man guilty of terror plot

Former BA computer expert Rajib Karim has been convicted of conspiring with a wanted terrorist to blow up a plane

A British Airways computer expert has been convicted of plotting to launch a 9/11-style terror attack from the UK.

Rajib Karim, 31, wanted to use his position at the airline to plant a bomb on a plane as part of a "chilling" conspiracy with Anwar al-Awlaki, a notorious radical preacher associated with al Qaida.

Among numerous plots to bring the airline to its knees, Karim hoped he could exploit airline strikes to become cabin crew and cause an explosion on a US-bound flight.

In encrypted emails with his brother and terror contacts in Iraq, Bangladesh, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he also discussed how he could attack BA computer servers and ground its entire fleet.

The father-of-one was found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court of four counts of planning terrorism after a jury heard how he was "committed to an extreme jihadist and religious cause" and was "determined to seek martyrdom".

Scotland Yard described the case as the most sophisticated decryption task it had ever undertaken.

Speaking afterwards, Home Secretary Theresa May said the "heinous plot shows why we will never be complacent".

Colin Gibbs, a counter-terrorism lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, described Karim's deep determination to plan an attack as "frightening".

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

Bearded Karim stood emotionless in the dock as the jury concluded he plotted to blow up an aircraft, shared information of use to al-Awlaki, offered to help financial or disruptive attacks on BA and gained a UK job to exploit terrorist purposes. Mr Justice Calvert-Smith set a sentencing date at the same court of March 18.

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