BA worker Rajib Karim denies bomb plot with cleric

Image caption,
Mr Karim was arrested in Newcastle in February 2010

A British Airways computer expert has denied plotting with a radical Muslim cleric to put a bomb on a plane.

Rajib Karim said he had wanted help from Anwar Al-Awlaki to fight in Yemen.

The Newcastle upon Tyne-based worker denied having used his IT job to pass on useful information to Mr Al-Awlaki, who is currently on the run from the US authorities.

Mr Karim, 31, also told Woolwich Crown Court he believed targeting aircraft was not permissible under Islam.

Earlier the court had heard how Mr Karim took up a position as a software engineer with BA at their offices in Newcastle, where he was arrested a year ago.

He has pleaded guilty to terrorist fund-raising, offering to take part in insurgent operations abroad and working on a video for a banned terror group.

But he denies getting a job with BA and using his position there to help plot terror attacks with Mr Al-Awlaki.

The court was shown coded messages between the men from December 2009 in which the cleric said he was "excited by hearing your profession. I pray that Allah may grant us a breakthrough with you".

He asked a series of questions about airline security to which Mr Karim gave answers, which he claims did not require any inside information.

Mr Karim told the court: "I gave him some information which I felt would be totally useless to keep him interested in me."

He said Mr Al-Awlaki was "the key person who could help me gain entry to the tribal regions of Yemen" so he did not want to disappoint him.

Mr Al-Awlaki went on to ask: "Is it possible to get a package or a person on board a flight heading to the US?", the court heard.

James Wood QC, for the defence, asked: "What is your belief about the permissibility of doing that sort of thing?"

Mr Karim replied: "At that point of time I had reached the view that it is not permissible."

He told the court "As a Muslim I felt he was wrong. This message was worse than the previous ones... before he had asked only general questions.

"Now he was asking if I would be willing to help put a bomb on an aeroplane. I disagreed with that view but he is a scholar and I'm not in a position to debate with him.

"What I decided to do is put in front of him works of other scholars and let him think."

The trial continues.

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