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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Man 'duped' over fertiliser store
Artist's impression of defendants in court (Artist: Julia Quenzler)
The men, one of whom cannot be pictured, deny all the charges
A student has told a court he was duped into paying for the storage of more than half a ton of chemical fertiliser as part of an alleged terror campaign.

Nabeel Hussain, 21, is one of seven men on trial at London's Old Bailey accused of planning a UK-wide bombing campaign.

He said he "thought it was sand" and gave his bank card to co-accused Omar Khyam to loan money for its storage.

The seven men were arrested when the fertiliser was found in a west London depot in 2004. They deny all charges.

Mr Hussain, who was 18 at the time of the conversation over the storage, said he had not known what fertiliser was, and had become suspicious only when a friend from university had told him it could be used for explosives.

It's against my beliefs and religion
Nabeel Hussein
Asked about a terror plan

"I thought it was sand. Khyam explained to me that he did renovating work, doing up old houses. He was going to store it," Mr Hussain said.

He had met Mr Khyam through his cousin a month earlier, he told the court.

Mr Hussain said he had been told his money would be repaid in a month's time, but had not checked his account until his student loan had run out.

He said after a visit to Access storage he had asked Mr Khyam what the bag contained and had been told it was fertiliser.

"It was the first time I had heard of it. I did not know what it was used for. I thought it was something to do with his work," he told the court.

Mr Hussain said he had referred to the fertiliser as fertilisation, and had asked a friend what it was.

He added: "He said you can make explosives out of it. I was scared. I had never heard of it before."

Mr Hussain was asked by his counsel, Michael Mansfield QC, whether he had been involved in a plan to store something which could be converted into explosives to murder people in the UK.

He replied: "I certainly was not. It's against my beliefs and religion. It was never something I was part of or I wanted to be part of."

Terror charges

The prosecution alleges the men were part of a cell linked to al-Qaeda which was targeting utilities, the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London.

Omar Khyam, 24; his brother Shujah Mahmood, 19; Waheed Mahmood, 34; and Jawad Akbar, 23, all from Crawley, Sussex; Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire; Anthony Garcia, 24, of Barkingside, east London; and Nabeel Hussain, 21, of Horley, Surrey, deny conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between January 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004.

Mr Khyam, Mr Garcia and Mr Hussain deny a further charge under the Terrorism Act of possessing 1,300lb (600kg) of ammonium nitrate fertiliser for terrorism.

Mr Khyam and Mr Mahmood also deny possessing aluminium powder for terrorism.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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