[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Death plots 'targeted Musharraf'
President Bush and President Musharraf
President Musharraf is a key ally of the US
A witness in the trial of seven men accused of planning a bombing campaign in the UK has said he plotted to kill the president of Pakistan.

Mohammed Babar, 31, told the Old Bailey he had been part of two conspiracies to murder President Pervez Musharraf.

Babar is giving evidence against seven men who deny charges including conspiracy to cause explosions.

They had no involvement in the Pakistan plots, he said, and he denied lying in order to get immunity from prosecution.

Joel Bennathan, representing Omar Khyam, put it to Babar that if he were not giving evidence in this case, he might be on death row in Pakistan, and Babar agreed.

I was told I was being given immunity
Mohammed Babar

The first alleged conspiracy had involved Babar having AK-47 semi-automatic rifles, up to 5,000 rounds of ammunition and grenades.

The second involved him being approached by a man who wanted him to put together a team to kill President Musharraf on the Muslim holiday of Eid.

Babar, dubbed a "supergrass", said he had been involved in court proceedings in the US but was not going to be prosecuted for the conspiracies.

He denied he had lied to the court to "buy himself out of trouble" but he admitted benefiting from being a valuable witness for the FBI.

He also denied he had twisted pure speculation into "a firm and settled plot in the UK" but admitted he had lied to the FBI for a few days.

Mohammed Babar (Artist: Julia Quenzler)
Babar denied lying to avoid punishment

Babar told the court he was picked up by the FBI in Manhattan where he was going to a yellow cab driving school.

He was taken to a luxury hotel where he was questioned for six days before being formally arrested.

Asked why he had decided to co-operate, Babar said he hoped to save his wife from arrest in Lahore and the police made an offer he could not refuse.

A week after 9/11, which he told the court had been a good thing, Babar left the city to fight jihad in Afghanistan because he says he knew the US would attack.

Mr Bennathan suggested he went to spy on the jihadis for the US, but Babar denied that.

Two short passages from a television interview with Babar after he left for Afghanistan were played to the jury.

In them, Babar stated: "When American troops enter, we will kill them."

He said he had no intention of going back to New York because Afghanistan was his home.

The West, he said, was the real terrorist and the Taleban had come as closes as anyone to creating a perfect Islamic state.

He agreed someone aiming to set up an armed training camp in Pakistan might have approached him because he had the contacts to supply automatic weapons and rocket launchers.

'Training camp'

Earlier in the trial, it had been alleged that the men talked about bombing the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, a large London nightclub and trains.

Babar claims to have plotted with them in England and in Pakistan where, the court was told, some of them attended a terror training camp.

Waheed Mahmood, 34, Mr Amin, Jawad Akbar, 22, Mr Khyam and his brother Shujah Mahmood, 19, all of Crawley, West Sussex, Anthony Garcia - also known as Rahman Adam - 23, of Ilford, east London, and Nabeel Hussain, 20, of Horley, Surrey, deny conspiring to cause explosions.

Mr Khyam, Mr Garcia and Mr Hussain deny possessing ammonium nitrate fertiliser.

Mr Khyam and Shujah Mahmood deny possessing aluminium powder.

The trial adjourned until Friday.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific