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Three guilty in bombing campaign plot

  • Story Highlights
  • Three people convicted of conspiracy to murder in terror trial
  • One found not guilty; jury fails to reach verdicts for four others
  • Plot involved smuggling liquid explosives onto trans-Atlantic planes
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Three men charged in an alleged plot to explode bombs on trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States and Canada were convicted Monday of conspiracy to murder.

Abdulla Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain, will be sentenced at a later date. The jury also found one man not guilty and failed to return verdicts on four others.

British prosecutors said the group planned a series of coordinated suicide attacks on planes bound for the United States and Canada in 2006.

The British Crown Prosecution Service said it was a plot -- involving liquid explosives hidden in soft drink bottles -- that could have been pulled off.

It led to new security measures at airports around the world limiting the amount of liquids passengers could take on flights.

British authorities said there was an assured al Qaeda link to the plot and called it "an ingenious plan to blow up aeroplanes with liquid explosives."

The men were arrested in August 2006 when police thought the plan was ready to be put into action.

Ali, Sarwar and Hussain, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to cause explosions.

They said they were planning to detonate bombs at key sites as part of a political statement, not with the intent to kill anyone. They maintained that they were not guilty of plotting to blow up airliners over the Atlantic Ocean.

While the men were convicted of conspiracy to murder, the jury could not reach a verdict on their charges of endangering an aircraft.

During the trial, prosecutors showed the jury an experiment which they said showed that a soft drink-size bottle filled with the kind of liquid explosives the men allegedly planned to use could have brought down a plane in mid-flight.

"The jury found there was a conspiracy to murder involving at least three men but failed to reach a verdict on whether the ambit of the conspiracy to murder included the allegation that they intended to detonate IEDs (improvised explosive devices) on trans-Atlantic airliners in relation to seven of the men," the Crown Prosecution said in a statement.

The three defendants and two others also pleaded guilty to charges related to "martyrdom" videos discovered by police.

They denied the videos were testimonials before a suicide attack and said they intended to post the videos on the Internet as part of a publicity stunt.


The trial began at London's Woolwich Crown Court in early April and the jury began deliberating in late July.The jury failed to reach verdicts on four other defendants, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam. An eighth man, Mohammed Gulzar, was found not guilty on all counts.

Prosecutors will have until October 3 to decide if they want to retry any of the defendants on the charges for which the jury could not reach a verdict.

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