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UK terror suspect goes on plot trial.

Byline: Press Association reporters newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

AUK-based man was part of a broad al Qaida conspiracy to attack targets in England, New York City and Denmark, according to a US prosecutor.

Celia Cohen told jurors in her opening statement in New York City that Abid Naseer headed a terror cell in Manchester.

The Pakistani defendant is also accused of a 2009 conspiracy to attack the New York City subway system.

Prosecutors say the trial will feature evidence seized during the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that left Osama bin Laden dead.

The jury will also hear evidence from undercover British intelligence officers who have been given permission to appear in court in disguise.

Naseer has opted to act as his own lawyer. If convicted, he faces a possible life sentence.

Naseer denies he was an al Qaida member and says he has "no extremist jihadist views".

Ms Cohen said Najibullah Zazi, who pleaded guilty in the subway plot, will be the first government witness.

Naseer was one of 12 people arrested in Britain in April 2009 on suspicion of being members of an al Qaida-backed terror cell. After no explosives were found, the men were released without being charged, but ordered to leave the country - a fate Naseer avoided after a judge ruled it was likely he would be mistreated if he were sent to Pakistan.

In a lengthy written statement submitted during the deportation proceedings, Naseer said he came from a moderate Muslim family that stressed education. He said he went to the UK to get a degree in computer science, not to attack the West.

"Committing terrorist acts is not justified, and I do not consider this to be jihad," he said. "I believe in spiritual jihad."

The time he spent on the internet on sites like Qiran.com was part of his quest to find a woman to marry, he said.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 18, 2015
Words:315
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