Abid Naseer convicted in 2009 shopping center bomb plot

Story highlights

  • Naseer is convicted of supporting al Qaeda, conspiring to bomb a shopping center in England
  • He maintained his innocence throughout the two-week trial in New York

New York (CNN)A federal jury Wednesday found Abid Naseer guilty of plotting with al Qaeda to bomb a shopping center in 2009 in Manchester, England, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said.

Naseer, 28, was convicted on three criminal violations: providing material support to al Qaeda, conspiring to provide material support for al Qaeda and conspiring to use a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence.
The Manchester plot was allegedly part of a three-pronged plan that included attacks on the New York City subway system and on a newsroom in Copenhagen. None were carried out.
    The New York plot allegedly originated with Najibullah Zazi, who is believed to have corresponded with the same al Qaeda contact as Naseer. Zazi pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and was the first witness in Naseer's trial.
    Naseer, a Pakistani national, was in the United Kingdom on a student visa at the time of his arrest. Among the evidence presented, prosecutors pointed out that Naseer had dropped out of classes after only a week.
    Naseer had no intention of completing his studies because "that was never the plan," Assistant U.S. Attorney Zainab Ahmad argued, saying that Naseer applied for a student visa as a means of entering the country to carry out the attack.
    Naseer maintained throughout the two-week trial that he was innocent, repeatedly denying all charges and insisting that he was in the United Kingdom to find a wife, not to plan an attack. He represented himself.
    He told jury members that prosecutors were only able to produce circumstantial evidence, with no witnesses offering direct information of Naseer's role in the alleged plot. They did not offer any outright proof of any link to al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization, he argued.
    Naseer's arrest in England was part of a massive sweep in connection with an alleged plot to carry out bomb attacks in Britain. He was extradited in January 2013.