New York: A 28-year-old Pakistani national has been found guilty by a federal jury here of plotting to attack the city's subway system as well as a busy shopping mall in the UK. Abid Naseer, who had joined Al-Qaeda and plotted a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom, was found guilty yesterday by a jury in Brooklyn federal court of providing material support to the terror group following a two-week trial.
The evidence at trial established that Naseer and his accomplices had come within days of executing a plot to conduct a terror attack on a busy shopping mall located in Manchester in April 2009. The planned attack, which also targeted a newspaper office in Copenhagen, Denmark, had been directed by and coordinated with senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.
Naseer is the eighth defendant to face charges in Brooklyn federal court related to the Al-Qaeda plot, which also involved Adis Medunjanin, Najibullah Zazi, and Zarein Ahmedzay, the three members of the cell that targeted New York City. He faces up to life imprisonment when he is sentenced.
This al-Qaeda plot was intended by the group's leaders to send a message to the United States and its allies," United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch said. "Today's verdict sends an even more powerful message in response: the United States will stop at nothing in order to hold those who plot to kill and maim on behalf of terrorist groups accountable for their grievous crimes," Lynch said following the jury verdict.
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said the case demonstrates that terrorists who target the US and its allies will be brought to justice, no matter where they are. According to court information, in September 2008 Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan recruited the three friends from New York city Medunjanin, Zazi, and Ahmedzay to conduct a suicide bombing attack in the city.
The Al-Qaeda leaders, including Adnan El-Shukrijumah and Saleh al-Somali, communicated with Zazi about the plot through an Al-Qaeda facilitator named 'Ahmad', who was located in Peshawar, Pakistan. Naseer and his Pakistani accomplices had been dispatched by Al-Qaeda to the UK in 2006 in order to begin preparations for an attack in that country.
He and his co-conspirators entered the UK on student visas but then immediately dropped out of the university in which they had enrolled. Naseer and several associates were arrested in UK in April 2009 and this development was conveyed to bin Laden, according to documents recovered from the raid on the slain Al Qaeda leader's Pakistani compound in May 2011.