Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Canadian bomb plotter convicted

Momin Khawaja
Mr Khawaja has been in custody since March 2004

A Canadian software developer has been found guilty in a trial linked to a foiled fertiliser bomb plot in Britain.

A judge in Ontario ruled Momin Khawaja was involved in a terrorist group and convicted him of five out of seven charges. He was tried without a jury.

Khawaja, 29, was a co-conspirator of five men jailed for life in April 2007 for a UK bomb plot linked to al-Qaeda.

Legal experts regarded the trial as a test of anti-terrorism legislation passed in Canada in 2001.

Khawaja was arrested in March 2004 in a joint UK-Canadian operation and was accused of planning to attack the UK.

The judge ruled on Wednesday that he had knowingly participated in the foiled plot against several British targets, including a shopping centre, nightclub and the gas network.

As well as five terrorism offences, he was also found guilty of two separate criminal charges of having worked on a device to activate a bomb detonator and possessing an explosive substance.

The court was earlier told he had been part of a plan to detonate a 600kg bomb which would have caused "massive" loss of life.

Khawaja designed a remote bomb detonator which he called the "hi-fi digimonster", prosecutors said.

He was also accused of attending a paramilitary training camp in Pakistan.

In February 2004 Mr Khawaja appeared on the radar of the security services who already had the British fertiliser bomb plot conspirators under surveillance.

When he arrived at Heathrow airport he was met by Omar Khyam - one of the Britons convicted last year - whose car had already been bugged by MI5 and who was being followed by specialist counter-terrorism officers.

One of the surveillance officers told the British plot trial they had no idea who the Canadian was, or what his role was in the plot.

But as Khyam drove off in his Suzuki Vitara, the officers listening in heard him and the Canadian discuss a remote-controlled device designed to trigger the bomb the men were planning.

He was later arrested and charged in Canada.

The new Canadian law gives the government wider powers to keep intelligence information secret on national security grounds and limits defendants' access to evidence used against them.

Khawaja, who had denied all seven charges related to terrorism and explosives use, will be sentenced on 18 November.



SEE ALSO
Canadian 'linked to British plot'
03 Apr 04 |  Americas


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