Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Car bomb accused 'loved England'

Bilal Abdulla and Mohammed Asha
Dr Abdulla and Dr Asha deny the charges against them

An NHS doctor accused of taking part in car bomb attacks on London and Glasgow Airport has told a jury how he loved England as his second home.

Bilal Abdulla, 29, told Woolwich Crown Court that he even considered joining the British Army.

But he fought back tears as he spoke of seeing children dying from leukaemia which he blamed on American weapons.

Dr Abdulla, who has Iraqi and UK dual nationality, denies conspiracy to murder and to cause explosions.

He is accused of taking part in car bomb attacks with another man who died after driving a Jeep into the airport in June 2007.

'Second home'

A second doctor, Mohammed Asha, denies helping to organise the attacks from behind the scenes.

Taking to the witness box for the first time in a suit and open-necked shirt, Dr Abdulla told the jury he was born in the UK. He said his parents were middle class Iraqis from a large family with a tradition of medical careers.

He returned to Iraq as a five-year-old and completed his studies at Baghdad University.

I looked high upon those fighting the invaders. I supported the insurgency
Dr Bilal Abdulla

He was one of the brightest students in the country, the court heard, finishing 18th in his school year group.

Dr Abdulla said his parents could be described as "liberal or pro-Western" and he had inherited the same attitude towards the UK.

When he returned to Britain in 1999, he regarded it as his "second home, simple".

"I felt that England was home; I loved that country," he said.

Dr Abdulla said he found it difficult to get on a medical course because of the cost. He even had talks in an Army recruitment office in Cambridge because he thought enlisting might help with his university fees.

Returning to Iraq to sit his final medical exams, Dr Abdulla said he saw the destruction of his country from war and sanctions.

'No medication'

He said the fighting and aftermath of the second Gulf War left him shocked at the brutality of Western governments, despite supporting the downfall of Saddam Hussain.

Fighting back tears in the witness box, he described seeing more and more children diagnosed with leukaemia. This had been caused, he said, by depleted uranium shells fired by US forces during the first Gulf War.

"What I have seen is children aged three, four, five and six with leukaemia, but without treatment," he said.

"Why were they not treatable?" asked James Sturman QC, for the defence.

"No medication."

"Why was there no medication?"

"Sanctions," said Dr Abdulla.

Dr Abdulla said highly-trained Iraqi clinicians, many of whom had studied and worked in the UK, were struggling without antibiotics and pain-killers.

Kafeel Ahmed
Kafeel Ahmed died of burns after a car was driven into Glasgow airport

The rate of malformed babies went up, he said, as did the rate of post-operation infections.

He told Woolwich Crown Court he hated the American Government and was shocked that British soldiers failed to stop Shia Muslims driving the Sunni population out of Basra.

He said: "After months of waiting for reform and change, I then started to see the discrimination that the Americans were taking over the country.

"The government was a Shia government, the army was a Shia army, the police were Shia and we had gangsters that were kidnapping girls from schools and killing them.

"We were not able to go to our universities and the country was literally in chaos, we did not have water, or electricity or anything at all."

Asked by his barrister if he supported the Sunni resistance, Dr Abdulla said: "Definitely, I looked high upon those fighting the invaders. I supported the insurgency."

Asked what his feelings were towards people in Britain, he added: "I did not have any hatred towards any individual person anywhere in this country or other countries."

The case continues.

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