Thursday, July 8, 2010

Suspect in NYC subway jihad plot was allowed to stay in U.K. because "his safety could not be guaranteed" in Pakistan

What about our safety from him? An update on this story. "Al-Qaida suspect living in Britain arrested after US extradition request: Abid Naseer won right to stay in Britain when judge ruled his safety could not be guaranteed if he was deported to Pakistan," by Owen Bowcott for the Guardian, July 7:

An alleged al-Qaida operative who is said to pose a risk to national security but cannot be deported to Pakistan was arrested today after the United States requested his extradition.

Metropolitan police counter-terrorism officers in the north-east of England detained Abid Naseer, 24, and took him to London to appear before City of Westminster magistrates court.

Naseer, a Pakistani computing student at John Moores University, in Liverpool, was arrested last year as part of group of 12 men who were suspected of planning a bomb attack in Manchester.

His highly unusual status follows a ruling by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission that he constituted a serious threat to national security but could not be deported because he was at risk of being tortured or killed in his native country.

It is, of course, standard al-Qaeda procedure to claim to have been tortured when in custody. Apparently, claiming the possibility of torture works well, too.

The US wants to extradite him to face trial on charges of supporting a foreign terrorist organisation and conspiracy to use a destructive device. The department of justice in Washington said he was one of five people accused of participating in two plots.

One, directed against New York's subway system, was uncovered in September 2009; the other was "directly related to a scheme by al-Qaida plotters in Pakistan to use western operatives to attack a target in the United Kingdom".

The raids in which Naseer was arrested last year were brought forward after the former Met assistant commissioner Bob Quick accidentally showed secret documents outside Downing Street.

All 12 suspects were released without charge.

Eleven of the men, who are all Pakistani nationals, were transferred into the custody of the UK Border Agency.

The government attempted to deport Naseer and a second man, Ahmed Faraz Khan, 26, to Pakistan, but a judge blocked the move on the grounds that they could be tortured.

Mr Justice Mitting said it would be "conducive to the public good" if Naseer was deported, but the safety issue made it impossible to send him back.

The decision prompted the home secretary, Theresa May, to say "all possible measures" were being taken to ensure the men did not engage in terrorist activity.

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