July 22nd, 2005
India jails man Planning to Crash aircraft in London info
| Source:BBC News |
An Indian court has found an al-Qaeda suspect guilty of planning to crash aircraft into landmarks in London.
Mohammed Afroz Abdul Razzak was sentenced to seven years in jail for plotting attacks against a friendly nation and forging documents.
Prosecutors said he planned to hijack planes and crash them into the House of Commons and Tower Bridge.
Afroz was arrested in Mumbai (Bombay) in 2001. His lawyers say he confessed under duress and will appeal.
The judge in the anti-terrorism court in Mumbai found Afroz guilty of criminal conspiracy, forgery and "committing depredation on territories at peace with India", court officials said.
The court heard that Afroz checked into a hotel near London's Heathrow airport just before the 11 September attacks in the US.
We have no doubt in our minds that this conviction is wholly illegal and it will be definitely set aside by the honourable court
Defence lawyer Momin Solkar
Prosecutors said the 30-year-old, an educated Muslim from Mumbai, had spent considerable sums of money training as a pilot, both in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Prosecutors say his confessions revealed a global conspiracy by al-Qaeda to carry out suicide attacks in several countries.
Afroz also planned to attack Melbourne's Rialto Towers and parliament in Delhi, prosecutors say.
The court was told that Afroz and seven accomplices booked themselves onto Manchester-bound flights - but for some reason panicked and fled just as they were due to board.
Afroz was arrested in Mumbai in October 2001.
His lawyer, Momin Solkar, said he would challenge the convictions in the Supreme Court.
"We have no doubt in our minds that this conviction is wholly illegal and it will be definitely set aside by the honourable court," he told Reuters television.
Afroz was cleared of conspiracy to wage war on India. The judge also acquitted Afroz's brother helping him.