Al Qaeda suspect extradited from Britain to US

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 15:30 hrs

London, Jan 3 (IANS) A man accused of leading an Al Qaeda plot to set off bombs in Manchester has been extradited to the US because of his alleged involvement in a wider conspiracy to also bomb New York and Norway, BBC reported Thursday.

Abid Naseer was described by a judge as an "Al Qaeda operative" who "poses a serious threat to the national security of Britain".

British prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to charge him in the country.

However, the US wants to put him on trial, saying the Manchester plot was part of a wider conspiracy to also bomb New York and Norway.

In December 2012, Naseer's bid to stop the extradition was thrown out of the European Court of Human Rights. His lawyers argued he could be tortured if returned to Pakistan.

Naseer was arrested in 2009 along with 11 other people, many of them Pakistanis, in counter-terrorism raids in Manchester and Liverpool but no one has been charged by British prosecutors.

Then prime minister Gordon Brown said, "we are dealing with a very big terrorist plot".

Many among the arrested men came to Britain as students. The intelligence services suspected they were part of an international Al Qaeda plot directed from Pakistan.

Naseer was said to be the leader of the British end of the operation.

Suspicions were first aroused because of intercepted emails between Naseer and an Al Qaeda suspect in Pakistan known as "Ahmad". An email spoke about a "nikah" (Islamic wedding ceremony) believed to have been code for the attack.

After British authorities said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him and the courts had ruled he could not be deported, the FBI announced in July 2010 it had charged Naseer and wanted to try him in New York.

The FBI alleged he was part of an international terror plot which also included a thwarted suicide attack on the city's subway.

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