Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 16:38 UK

Judge warns 'airline bomb' jury

The accused men
The trial has lasted for more than three months

The judge at the trial of eight Muslims accused of plotting to blow up transatlantic planes has warned jurors to discount all outside influences.

Mr Justice Calvert-Smith told Woolwich Crown Court the issue was whether there was a conspiracy to commit murder.

Prosecutors say the men planned to smuggle liquid bombs on to jets flying from Heathrow to North America.

The men deny two charges, which have been amended, of conspiracy to murder between 1 January and 11 August 2006.

One specifies the attacks would have involved the detonation of improvised bombs on passenger aircraft.

Threatening videos

Three defendants have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain pleaded guilty to plotting an explosion for political purposes.

They and fellow defendants Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam also admitted conspiring to cause a public nuisance by making videos threatening bombings.

As he started summing up the three-and-a-half month trial, the judge told jurors: "Ignore the possible repercussions of your verdicts, either on the defendants and their families if it is guilty or on the media and others mentioned by counsel if not guilty, they have nothing whatsoever to do with your deliberations."

In an effort to make clear the jury's remit, he went on: "You are not deciding whether or not a defendant is or is not a fanatic. You are not deciding whether or not it was likely whether any conspiracy would in the end be successful.

Hoax claim

"You are not deciding whether the interventions of British and US troops in either Afghanistan or Iraq were justified."

In their defence Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, and Assad Sarwar, 28, claimed to have planned to record a documentary highlighting injustices against Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon.

Mr Ali said he considered detonating an explosive device at the Houses of Parliament or Heathrow Terminal Three as a publicity stunt protesting against British foreign policy.

And he claimed martyrdom videos recorded by six of the defendants were a hoax to be used as part of an internet documentary.

The defendants are: Mr Ali, aka Ahmed Ali Khan, 27, of Walthamstow, London; Mr Sarwar, 28, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire; Mr Hussain, 27, of Leyton, east London, and Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Barking, London.

Also charged, are Mr Savant, 27, of Stoke Newington, north London, Mr Khan, 26, of Walthamstow, Mr Zaman, 24, of Walthamstow and Mr Islam, aka Brian Young, 30, of Plaistow, east London.

The trial continues.



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