NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal jury on Thursday found three men
guilty of plotting to bomb 12 U.S. airliners in Asia.
The jury found Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the alleged
mastermind of the plot, and two other defendants, Abdul Hakim
Murad and Wali Khan Amin Shah, guilty on seven counts
after two-and-a-half days of deliberations.
Yousef, 29, also is the alleged mastermind of the 1993
bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. He still faces
trial in that case.
Yousef, who holds an Iraqi passport, also has been
linked to schemes to assassinate President Clinton, and
Pope John Paul II during the pontiff's visit to
Each man was charged with conspiring
and attempting to bomb the dozen targeted aircraft during a
48-hour period in January 1995. The bombings could have
killed 4,000 people aboard the planes, prosecutors said.
The men could face life sentences.
Fire led to arrests
Officials said they uncovered the airline plot in
January 6, 1995, when a fire broke out in a Manila
apartment where, they said, Yousef and Murad were
Yousef fled the country after the fire, and police
arrested Murad as he allegedly came back to the
apartment to clear out incriminating evidence.
Those items included nitroglycerin, bomb-making
equipment, manuals containing bomb formulas, a
computer with information on airline flights, timers
for detonating bombs and a letter threatening to
attack American targets.
The government said the defendants even devised a name
for their airline terror plot: "Project Bojinka."
Yousef was captured the next month in Islamabad,
Pakistan, after a 23-month manhunt.
During the trial, which began in May,
Yousef represented himself. Speaking clearly and
calmly in his closing argument, he accused police in
the Philippines and Pakistan of planting evidence
His appointed legal adviser, Roy Kulcsar, supported
that contention: "I think the evidence fully supports
the finding that almost everybody who came from the
Philippines, certainly everyone who was with the
Philippine Nation Police, lied at one critical point
or another. They admitted as much in their testimony,"
In June, a Philippine bomb squad officer cast doubt on
the prosecution's case when he testified that his
written report falsely claimed a pipe bomb was found
in an attaché case outside the apartment door and that
he was ordered by his supervisor to list items he
hadn't seen in the attaché.
But prosecutors said there was little doubt that
Yousef orchestrated the "Bojinka" plot, trained his
two co-defendants and tested a watch timer.
Yousef was charged with placing a bomb on a Philippine
Air Lines 747 flight from Manila to Tokyo on December
11, 1994, in what prosecutors believe was a test run
for the 1995 airline plot. One passenger was killed.
Defendant Shah is accused of testing a
different timer by leaving a bomb in a Manila theater.
Shah's attorney dismissed the evidence, saying his
client lost three fingers from his left hand fighting
in Afghanistan and was hardly a candidate to plan an
But that argument apparently carried little weight with the
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