Pakistani man wanted in US over New York subway plot to face extradition hearing in Britain

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Man held over US plot faces UK extradition hearing

LONDON — A Pakistani man alleged to have planned a major al-Qaida attack in Britain and wanted by U.S. authorities over the New York subway bomb plot was ordered to remain in custody Tuesday before an extradition hearing scheduled for December.

Abid Naseer, 24, appeared by video link from prison for a brief hearing at a London court.

Naseer was arrested in July on a U.S. extradition warrant on charges of providing support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiring to support a terror group and conspiracy to use a destructive device.

Prosecutors allege that Naseer was part of a major al-Qaida conspiracy that included the New York subway plot.

At a previous hearing, U.S. government lawyer Melanie Cumberland said Naseer was an al-Qaida operative motivated by “deeply held religious beliefs.”

“The conspiracy was coordinated by al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan. The targets were in the U.S. and in the U.K.,” she said at the previous hearing.

Cumberland did not outline further details of the case at Tuesday’s hearing.

District judge Nicholas Evans ordered Naseer to remain in custody before a scheduled three-day hearing starts Dec. 15. He said Naseer would appear again at the court by video link on Nov. 2 to confirm details of the full hearing.

In May, a British judge labeled Naseer an al-Qaida operative, but said he could not be deported to Pakistan because of the likelihood he would be mistreated there.

Naseer was among 12 people arrested in April 2009 in anti-terrorism raids across northern England. All were released without charge, but authorities insisted they had thwarted a major al-Qaida bomb plot in the northern city of Manchester. Few details were released, but authorities said a Manchester shopping mall was likely among the targets.

Naseer was then arrested on the U.S. warrant in July.

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