Men who 'despised the British' deny plotting suicide bombing


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The Independent Online

Three men accused of plotting to launch a suicide bomb campaign were “deadly serious” in their mission, a court heard today.

In the closing speeches at the trial of Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all from Birmingham, the prosecution claimed the men “revered Osama Bin Laden”.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that two of the accused – Naseer and Khalid – underwent terror training in Pakistan and on their return to the UK plotted to detonate up to eight rucksack devices at multiple targets which could have been bigger than the 7/7 attacks on London.

Brian Altman QC, for the prosecution, said the men were not “joke, would-be suicide bombers” but “deadly serious, hell-bent on achieving their goal”. He claimed the men “despised” British people and intended to kill them.

During the three-month trial, the jury was told that Naseer and Khalid had recorded suicide videos whilst staying in Pakistan.

The prosecution claimed these would be played after the attacks were carried out. It was also alleged that the men purchased equipment and chemicals that could be deployed in making explosive devices. A partially burnt note discovered by detectives was alleged to contain a blueprint for making a bomb.

Police secretly recorded the men’s conversations before arresting them in a series of raids in September 2011 before any of the alleged attacks could be carried out. Hours of recordings were played to the jury.

Earlier in his closing speech, Mr Altman claimed the men, who all deny conduct in preparation of terrorism activity, told “a series of outrageous and outlandish lies” to explain away their words. “There can hardly be a jury in this country that has been treated to more manufactured nonsense than this,” he said.

However, Naseer insisted that he had been pretending to be a terrorist in order to boost his reputation and act big.

Jonathan Whitfield QC, defending Naseer, said of his client, who weighs 23 stone: “Can you honestly see Mr Naseer running up and down a mountain lugging weapons... a rocket launcher? The only thing he’s shot off is his mouth. Why would al-Qa’ida waste a rocket launcher on Mr Naseer?

“The only places that Mr Naseer has been to are in his mind. The only guns he’s used are on the computer. There’s a wonderland he sometimes inhabits called Naseeristan. He does not deserve to be called a terrorist.”

The trial continues.