August 24, 2006

Britain charges 12th suspect over plane bomb plot

LONDON (Reuters) - British police charged a 12th suspect on
Thursday over an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners.

Umair Hussain, 24, was charged with failing to disclose
information that could have prevented a terrorist attack,
police said. He is due to appear in a London court on Friday.

British police announced on August 10 they had thwarted a
plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners over the Atlantic by
smuggling liquid explosives onto flights.

On Monday, prosecutors charged eight British Muslims with
conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism. They were
accused of plotting to smuggle parts of home-made bombs on to
planes, then build the bombs and detonate them.

A 17-year-old was charged with possessing items useful to a
terrorist, including a book on home-made bombs, suicide notes
and wills "with the identities of persons prepared to commit
acts of terrorism," prosecutors said.

Two other suspects, including the mother of an 8-month-old
baby, were charged with failing to report the plot.

Hussain's lawyer, Tim Rustem, said he and his client were
surprised and disappointed the police had decided to charge

"I will be challenging the decision as quickly as
possible," he told reporters.

Rustem said Hussain had told him to file a complaint about
his treatment in police custody because of alleged
strip-searching and "the impression ... that we got that some
parts of his private legal consultations may have been
illegally monitored."

In response, a police spokeswoman said: "Any allegations we
receive, we would look at."

Eight other people remain in custody who have not so far
been charged. Detectives have until next Wednesday to question

As many as 17 people are also being held in Pakistan over
the suspected plot, including at least two British nationals.

The charges come 13 months after four British Islamist
suicide bombers killed themselves and 52 other people at rush
hour on public transport in London.

Police said this week they had seized "martyrdom videos,"
an apparent reference to testaments by would-be suicide
bombers, as part of a huge investigation into the suspected
aircraft plot.

The British government imposed tight restrictions on
carry-on baggage by airline passengers for several days after
August 10, causing chaos at major airports at the height of the
summer holidays.