A Pakistani man who took British citizenship while planning terrorist attacks against the West is to be tried with evidence collected by an American special forces team during the fatal 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
The Seal team retrieved a huge cache of documents including papers and computers when they raided the Abbottabad compound, exposing a flaw in the otherwise extremely decentralised al-Qaeda terrorist network which has led to suggestions the seized documents should be used in court cases against suspected terrorists. British citizen Abid Naseer, 28, is alleged to have been part of an international terrorist gang who planned atrocities including bombing British shopping centres.
Naseer was extradited to the United States in 2013 to face trial as “one tentacle of an international plot that reached to New York, Norway and the UK”, for “providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda” as “conspiracy to use a destructive device in relation to the UK branch of the plot”, reports The Times.
If they are declassified in time for the trial, this will be the first time any of the large volume of documents taken from Bin Laden’s home will have been used in a criminal prosecution.
It is alleged that Naseer, while while studying for a Master’s degree in the UK, was conspiring with others to commit terrorist attacks under the cover of organising a wedding. Although he planned to bomb a shopping centre in Manchester, he and his accomplices were arrested in 2009 before the attack could be realised. The prosecution alleges that in addition to the shopping centre bomb, Naseer was connected to a group in the United States who planned to attack public transport.
Naseer has rejected the charges and denies being a terrorist, and has called an ex-girlfriend as a witness. The Times reports they had initially requested to allow the former partner to give evidence anonymously, to save the embarrassment of revealing a relationship with a terrorist, however that request was denied by the court.