LONDON (AP) – A British court on Friday approved the extradition of a terror suspect wanted in the United States over an alleged plot to detonate explosives aboard the New York City subway system.
Judge Quentin Purdy said 24-year-old Abid Naseer can be sent to the U.S. to stand trial for his alleged role in a terror campaign that would have struck at targets in Britain, Norway and the United States.
U.S. authorities say they aim to prove that Naseer collected bomb ingredients, conducted reconnaissance and was in frequent contact with other al-Qaida operatives as part of a foiled international plot to detonate explosives aboard the New York City subway and a suspected plot to bomb a busy shopping area in the northern English city of Manchester.
Naseer was one of 12 people arrested in a counterterrorism operation in April 2009, but all were subsequently released without charge. They were ordered to leave Britain, but Naseer escaped deportation to his native Pakistan after a judge ruled it was likely he would be mistreated if he were sent home.
Naseer was re-arrested in July 2010 at the request of U.S. authorities.
Naseer’s lawyer had argued that the United States would have fewer inhibitions about returning him to Pakistan. Purdy acknowledged there is a “very real risk” Naseer would be tortured if he ever returned home, but said he believed the U.S. justice system would not ignore that concern.
Naseer, who wore a brown shirt, stroked his beard as the judge read out the ruling Friday but otherwise showed no reaction. Asked whether he understood that he could appeal the judgment, he said: “Yes sir, thank you.”
Naseer is charged with providing material support to al-Qaida, conspiring to provide such support and “conspiracy to use destructive device” in service to violent crime. He faces a possible life sentence in the United States if convicted.
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