'Shoe bomber' jailed for 13 years
LONDON, England -- A British man was sentenced to 13 years in jail on Friday for conspiring with convicted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid to blow up an aircraft in 2001.
Saajid Mohammed Badat, 25, of Gloucester, west England, pleaded guilty to the charge on February 28. He is the first British citizen to be convicted of a terrorist offense since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
Badat admitted in court that he conspired to place a device on an aircraft in service between January 1, 1999, and November 28, 2003.
"It is clear the plan was that Reid and Badat would bring down a passenger aircraft at similar times in late December that year," prosecutor Richard Horwell said during the trial at London's Old Bailey.
Prosecutors said there was evidence that Badat had withdrawn from the plot.
Reid tried to detonate a shoe bomb on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami on December 22, 2001, but suspicious passengers and flight crew members wrestled him to the floor.
The flight was diverted to Boston, where Reid was later charged and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison.
During the trial, prosecutors said Badat received training both in Afghanistan and Pakistan and was given an explosive device specially designed to evade airport security and destroy an aircraft in flight.
The court was told the device was identical to the one used by Reid. A piece of detonating cord from Reid's bomb matched that of Badat's bomb.
Badat returned to Britain on December 10, 2001 with the device in his possession and sent an e-mail to his handlers four days later "indicating he might withdraw," the prosecutor Horwell said.
"He had booked a ticket to fly from Manchester to Amsterdam in preparation for an onward flight to the United States on which the explosive device would be initiated," he said.
"But he did not take that flight. We accept by then he had withdrawn from the conspiracy which by then he had been party to for an appreciable period of time.
"The device he brought with him to the UK was kept at his home (in Gloucester). He had separated the fuse and the detonator from the plastic explosive."
Last year, Badat was indicted by a U.S. grand jury in Boston. U.S. authorities have accused Badat of conspiring to destroy an aircraft and several related crimes.
The seven-count indictment alleged Badat and Reid obtained custom-made shoe bombs in Afghanistan to be used to attack U.S. interests, including Flight 63.
According to the indictment, Badat "admitted that he was asked to conduct a shoe bombing like Reid."
Police say components of Badat's shoe bomb were seized from his home in Gloucester when he was arrested on November 27, 2003.
Prosecutors said Belgian telephone cards found on Reid were used by Badat to contact Nizar Trabelsi, who is now in jail in Belgium.