BA worker Rajib Karim convicted of terror charges
- 28 February 2011
- From the section Tyne & Wear
A British Airways computer expert who plotted to blow up a plane has been found guilty of terror charges.
Rajib Karim, 31, from Newcastle, used his job to access information for radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Woolwich Crown Court heard.
He denied four charges, including sharing information of use to hate groups.
But after four days of deliberations, the jury found him guilty of all four charges.
Karim was committed to an "extreme jihadist cause" and determined to become a martyr, jurors were told.
The Bangladeshi national, who moved with his wife and son to Newcastle in 2006, had already admitted being involved in the production of a terrorist group's video.
Karim, a privately-educated IT expert from Dhaka, became a supporter of the extremist organisation Jammat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) after being influenced by his younger brother Tehzeeb, the court heard.
He was described as a "mild-mannered, well-educated and respectful" man who hid his hatred for Western ways from colleagues by joining a gym, playing football and never airing extreme views.
But at the same time he was using his access to the airline's offices in Newcastle and at Heathrow to spread confidential information.
After gaining a post-graduate job at BA in 2007, Karim held secret meetings with fellow Islamic extremists at Heathrow and, in 2009, began communicating with al-Awlaki from his home in Brunton Lane.
After the verdict, Home Secretary Theresa May said: "The fact that Karim has been found guilty of such a heinous plot shows why we will never be complacent.
"I want to thank the police and the security service for their hard work in this complex case.
"We know that we face a serious threat from terrorism and national security remains this government's top priority."
Colin Gibbs, counter terrorism lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, added: "The most chilling element of this case is probably the fact that Karim tried to enrol as cabin crew and anyone can imagine how horrific the consequences of this could have been, had he succeeded.
"Karim's deep determination to plan terror attacks whatever the cost was frightening.
"He found a position as a software engineer, which the prosecution said he considered the perfect job, giving an opportunity sooner or later to fulfil his deadly objective."
Deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Stuart Osborne, added: "Although Rajib Karim went to great lengths to disguise his activities, experts from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command spent nine months decrypting 300 coded messages found on his computer hard drive.
"It was the most sophisticated decryption task of its kind ever undertaken by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.
"This painstaking work gave detectives access to a body of material, which exposed Rajib Karim's terrorist activities and led to today's conviction."
Karim is due to be sentenced on 18 March.