Sun, Jul 15, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Two more charged in failed UK bombing

AP , LONDON AND BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

An Indian doctor arrested the same day his brother allegedly drove a Jeep into Glasgow's main airport was charged with a terrorism offense in Britain yesterday. A distant cousin in Australia was also charged in the failed attacks in London and Glasgow.

Sabeel Ahmed, of Liverpool, became the third person to face charges in the alleged plot. He was charged with withholding information that could prevent an act of terrorism, police said in a statement. Ahmed is scheduled to appear in court in London tomorrow.

Ahmed 26, was arrested on June 30 in Liverpool and is the brother of Kafeel Ahmed, who is believed to have set himself ablaze after crashing into the airport and is in a Scottish hospital with critical burns.

Muhammad Haneef, 27, a distant cousin who once shared a house with the brothers in Britain, was charged yesterday in Brisbane, Australia, with supporting a terrorist group. Bilal Abdullah, a 27-year-old doctor, was charged last week by British police with conspiring to set off explosions.

Australian police charged Haneef with providing support to the bomb plot by giving his SIM card to Sabeel and Kafeel Ahmed when he left Britain for Australia in July last year. Haneef faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.

Haneef was arrested on July 2 while trying to leave the eastern city of Brisbane for India on a one-way ticket. Prosecutor Clive Porritt said Haneef would have known about the Ahmed brothers' alleged links to terrorism.

"These are people who he lived with, may have worked with and certainly associated with," Porritt told the Brisbane Magistrates Court during a daylong bail hearing.

But defense lawyer Stephen Keim said Haneef only left the SIM card with Sabeel Ahmed so his cousin could take advantage of a special deal on his mobile phone plan.

"For some reason, he should have been aware that something was going to happen when the rest of the world didn't," Keim said. "It is not suggested that he is anything other than a foolish dupe who should have been more suspicious."

It was not immediately clear whether the SIM card was used in the foiled attacks.

Magistrate Jacqui Payne adjourned her decision on whether to grant Haneef bail until tomorrow, leaving him in custody while she considers the large amount of paperwork in the case.

Prosecutors have opposed bail for Haneef, saying he could flee the country if released.

Porritt said Haneef made a "flurry" of phone calls to India on the day of his intended departure, including one to his brother who informed him police had linked him to the bomb plot.

But Haneef claims he was rushing back to India to see his wife and newborn daughter, born on June 26, and that he planned to purchase his return ticket in India.

Keim said it would be impossible for his client to leave the country because he has surrendered his passport and his photograph has been in the newspapers and on television for the past two weeks.

"Whatever flight risk he represented two weeks ago, he doesn't represent now," Keim said.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard urged caution in Haneef's case, saying he was still entitled to the presumption of innocence.

"But without commenting on his particular circumstances, all of this is a reminder that terrorism is a global threat," he said.

In Britain, the office of the prime minister, the Home Office, the Foreign Office and London's Metropolitan Police all declined to comment on the charges yesterday.

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