Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Doctor 'a swot, not a terrorist'

Bilal Abdulla and Mohammed Asha
Dr Abdulla and Dr Asha were NHS employees

A doctor accused of funding a terrorist plot was too much of a "swot" to have been wanted in the gang, a court heard.

Dr Mohammed Asha, 28, was treated as an "outsider" by alleged co-conspirators, his barrister Stephen Kamlish QC said.

Dr Asha, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, is accused of providing advice and cash for the plot to detonate car bombs last June at Glasgow Airport and in London.

Together with Dr Bilal Abdulla, 29, from Paisley, he denies conspiracies to murder and to cause explosions.

Summing up his defence case at Woolwich Crown Court, Mr Kamlish said there was insufficient evidence against Dr Asha to prove his involvement in the alleged terror plot.

Engineering student Kafeel Ahmed drove a burning Jeep into a terminal building at Glasgow Airport and planted two car bombs in London's West End, which failed to detonate.

Ahmed died from burns a month after the airport attack.

'Medical swot'

Dr Abdulla, who was his passenger in Glasgow, says he plotted to set cars alight to give the public "a taste of fear" and draw attention to the suffering of Iraqi people. But he denies trying to hurt anyone.

Mr Kamlish said Dr Abdulla and Ahmed looked down on Dr Asha because of his focus on work and family rather than the afterlife.

He told the jury Ahmed's brother Sabeel, who was not involved in the plot, had more contact with the pair than Dr Asha, a neurologist at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

"There's more evidence against this non-conspirator than there is against Mohammed Asha," he said.

Mr Kamlish said Dr Asha had been used as a "medical swot" to help Dr Abdulla, a doctor at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, and described him as "an outsider, both generally to their lives and to their plot".

Political beliefs

Extremist material was found on both Sabeel Ahmed and Dr Asha's laptops, and both gave money to Kafeel Ahmed and Dr Abdulla, the jury heard.

Mr Kamlish said: "Kafeel and Sabeel are brothers so he [Sabeel] is friendly with both Bilal Abdulla and Kafeel Ahmed.

"We know that Mohammed Asha is not friends with Kafeel Ahmed because Kafeel does not like him, probably because he's 'a swot' - not the sort of person he wants in his conspiracy."

The brothers lived together in India while Kafeel said he was doing "experiments" in the run-up to the planned attacks, and held similar political beliefs, the court was told.

Mr Kamlish said extremist material had got onto Dr Asha's computer when Dr Abdulla loaded a batch of software on to the machine. It had been concealed within certain files, he said.

He added: "There is no evidence that Mohammed Asha has viewed any of it."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

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