Admiten culpabilidad en complot para volar avión en 2001

LONDON, England — A British man has pleaded guilty to conspiring with convicted «shoe bomber» Richard Reid to blow up an aircraft in 2001.
Saajid Mohammed Badat, 25, of Gloucester, west England, becomes the first British citizen convicted of a terrorist offense since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
Badat pleaded guilty Monday at the start of his trial at London’s Old Bailey to conspiring to place a device on an aircraft in service between January 1, 1999, and November 28, 2003.
«It is clear the plan was that Reid and Badat would bring down a passenger aircraft at similar times in late December that year,» prosecutor Richard Horwell said.
Prosecutors said there was evidence that Badat had withdrawn from the plot.
Reid tried to detonate a shoe bomb on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami on December 22, 2001, but suspicious passengers and flight crew members wrestled him to the floor.
The flight was diverted to Boston, where Reid was later charged and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors said Badat had received training both in Afghanistan and Pakistan and was given an explosive device specially designed to evade airport security and destroy an aircraft in flight.
Horwell said the device was identical to the one used by Reid. A piece of detonating cord from Reid’s bomb matched that of Badat’s bomb.
Badat returned to Britain on December 10, 2001 with the device in his possession and sent an e-mail to his handlers four days later «indicating he might withdraw,» Horwell told the court.
«He had booked a ticket to fly from Manchester to Amsterdam in preparation for an onward flight to the United States on which the explosive device would be initiated,» Horwell said.
«But he did not take that flight. We accept by then he had withdrawn from the conspiracy which by then he had been party to for an appreciable period of time.
«The device he brought with him to the UK was kept at his home (in Gloucester). He had separated the fuse and the detonator from the plastic explosive.»
Last year, Badat was indicted by a U.S. grand jury in Boston. U.S. authorities have accused Badat of conspiring to destroy an aircraft and several related crimes.
The seven-count indictment alleged Badat and Reid obtained custom-made shoe bombs in Afghanistan to be used to attack U.S. interests, including Flight 63.
According to the indictment, Badat «admitted that he was asked to conduct a shoe bombing like Reid.»
Police say components of Badat’s shoe bomb were seized from his home in Gloucester when he was arrested on November 27, 2003.
Prosecutors said Belgian telephone cards found on Reid were used by Badat to contact Nizar Trabelsi, who is now in jail in Belgium.
«The defendant (Badat) has links not only with Richard Reid, connected with America, but with Nizar Trabelsi, arrested in September 2001 and then convicted of planning to attack an American base in Belgium,» prosecutor Richard Whittam told the court at a pre-trial hearing.
«There is a link between this defendant and Richard Reid by Belgian telephone cards. It is a vital detail of the prosecution case,» Whittam said.
Trabelsi, a Tunisian who played professional soccer for several German teams, was sentenced to a maximum 10 years in prison in 2003 after admitting he planned to drive a car bomb into a Belgian air base where U.S. nuclear weapons are believed to be stored, The Associated Press reported.
Acquaintances in Gloucester have described Badat as a quiet, studious young man who had given sermons at a local mosque. Badat’s parents reportedly had emigrated from Malawi in 1960s and settled in Gloucester, where Badat was born, AP reported.
CNN’s Terry Frieden contributed to this report

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