Doctors on trial to be portrayed as terrorists

TWO doctors charged with trying to bomb a Glasgow airport and London’s West End will be portrayed by prosecutors as terrorists in thrall to a fundamental form of Islam, a jury in London heard yesterday.

Justice Colin Mackay also instructed jurors to set aside their prejudices and prepare for “an interesting case.”

Bilal Abdulla, 29, and Mohammed Asha, 28, have been in jail awaiting trial since the abortive June 2007 attacks. The Iraqi-raised Abdulla and Asha, a Jordanian, had worked in British hospitals since 2004.

Two poorly designed car bombs abandoned outside West End night spots on June 29, 2007, failed to detonate. They were discovered only accidentally — one, when paramedics spotted it emitting smoke, the other, after it had been towed away by traffic enforcement officials. Police said both contained drums of fuel, packs of nails, timers and detonators.

The following day, an attempted suicide car-bomb attack on Glasgow International Airport caused only one death — that of attacker Kafeel Ahmed, who suffered lethal burns while trying to ignite a propane-based bomb on board his vehicle.

Indian-born Ahmed was the alleged driver of the sports-utility vehicle that rammed into security barriers outside the airport, while Abdulla was the alleged passenger. Police suspect that Abdulla and Ahmed also delivered the West End car bombs.

Asha was arrested hours after the Glasgow attack while driving with his wife on an English highway, and police subsequently identified him as a likely ringleader based on cell-phone and other electronic records.

Abdulla and Asha face identical charges of conspiring to commit murder and cause explosions from January 2006 to July 2007. Mackay told jurors at Woolwich Crown Court in southeast London that prosecutors would characterise Abdulla and Asha as “terrorists motivated by their belief in a fundamental form of Islam.” The prosecutors’ opening statement is scheduled for today.

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