Judge warns jury in Stansted hijack trial

War on terrorism: Courts
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Ten Afghan men accused of hijacking a packed Boeing 727 and threatening to blow it up in a three-day stand-off at Stansted airport went on trial yesterday.

Mr Justice Jowitt warned the Old Bailey jury not to let the recent terrorist attacks in the US affect their judgement. The judge said the recent attacks had reportedly been committed by followers of the Taliban, while the trial involved a group of people who were opposed to the regime and escaped.

The court heard that the defendants hijacked an Ariana Airways plane with 164 passengers in February last year. The plane, which was on an internal flight from Kabul, was flown to Britain where the men allegedly threatened to blow it up before giving themselves up.

Ali Safi, 35; Abdul Shohab, 21; Taimur Shah, 29; Kazim Mohammed, 28; Reshad Ahmadi, 19; Nazamuddin Mohammidy, 28; Abdul Ghayur, 25; Mohammed Showaib, 26; Mohammed Safi, 33, and Khalil Ullah, 31, deny hijacking. They and an 11th man, Waheed Lutfi, 23, deny four further charges.