BA computer expert accused of plotting suicide bombings

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A British Airways computer expert charged with terror offences planned to take advantage of a strike by BA staff to become a temporary member of cabin crew, a court heard yesterday.

Rajib Karim, who was born in Bangladesh and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, faced three charges under counter-terrorism legislation.

The 30-year-old is accused of two counts of planning suicide bombings. One charge involves the UK and the other alleges that he plotted with contacts in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Yemen.

It is alleged that he deliberately stayed in Britain, obtaining a passport and getting a job at the airline to further the conspiracy.

For the prosecution, Colin Gibbs, told City of Westminster magistrates' court that the charge sheet alleged Mr Karim shared information about his work – including security measures – and offered to take advantage of planned strikes by BA staff to join the airline's cabin crew.

Mr Karim also faced a third charge alleging that he collected money and transferred it through trusted associates and wire services to terrorist associates overseas. Three three offences are alleged to have taken place between April 2006 and February this year.

Mr Karim was arrested by officers from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command, working with colleagues in north-east England, on 25 February.

Officers swooped on the Newcastle-based office complex where he worked as a software developer and searched his home in the city. Hundreds of computer files taken from the raid are currently being examined.

Urgent inquiries are also understood to be under way in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Yemen to trace the other men who were allegedly involved. During the hearing, Mr Karim spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. He did not apply for bail.

District Judge Timothy Workman remanded Mr Karim in custody and adjourned the case until 26 March at the Old Bailey.

Scotland Yard also arrested three men in Slough, Berkshire, during the inquiry. All three were released without charge on Tuesday.

The trial continues.