A Pakistani national and a former Liverpool student, Abid Naseer, was found guilty of plotting attacks in Manchester, New York City and Copenhagen with the terrorist cell Al Qaida.
The verdict was reached by a jury in a federal court on Wednesday in Brooklyn, New York City, after starting the deliberations on Tuesday morning.
Naseer was found guilty on three charges, including providing support to Al Qaida and planning on using a destructive device. He denied all the charges and acted as his own lawyer, referring to himself in the third-person and appearing calm.
He now faces a potential life sentence and is planning on appealing, according to his court-appointed lawyer, James Neuman. No date has been set for the sentencing.
The 28-year-old was first arrested in Manchester in April 2009 on suspicion of a plot to blow up the city’s Arndale Shopping Centre but was later released with nine other suspects due to lack of evidence.
Naseer was extradited to the US after prosecutors named him on charges alleging of a broader conspiracy in 2013, involving a failed attempt to attack New York City’s subway system.
Evidence was given by several British undercover MI5 agents, wearing make-up and wigs as they recounted the weeks they spent surveilling the suspect, in March and April 2009. The details of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound were also heard by the jury in court for the first time.
Most of the evidence presented in court consisted of email exchanges between Abid Naseer, and a person, who is believed by prosecutors, to be an Al Qaida operative, directing the plots.
The emails mentioned women's names such as Nadia and Huma, which are believed to be codes for ammonium nitrate and hydrogen peroxide, respectively. The two substances are commonly used in bomb making. Before being arrested in April 2009, Naseer had sent an email talking about a Nikah – wedding ceremony – with Nadia, which are known by intelligence officials as Al Qaida codes.
Naseer argued he was coming to the UK on a student visa from Pakistan to earn a degree and find a wife. #Terrorism