Documents related to al Qaeda that were seized during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, were revealed on Wednesday at the New York trial of a Pakistani man charged with planning several attacks in the U.S., Britain and Russia. The case marked the first time that prosecutors have used evidence gathered in the May 2011 raid that killed the terrorist group's leader after a nearly 10-year manhunt.
Abid Naseer headed a British al Qaeda terror cell, which, in 2009, was part of a conspiracy to carry out attacks, including bombing the New York City subway system and the Arndale shopping center in Manchester, prosecutors reportedly claimed. The documents, which referred to the planned attacks, also included a letter to bin Laden outlining the planned attacks, BBC reported. If convicted, Naseer could face life in prison.
“The defendant’s terrorist plot went all the way to the top of al-Qaida, to none other than Osama bin Laden,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Celia Cohen, who accused Naseer of conspiring in the plot, said, according to The Guardian.
A letter, read out at the trial, reportedly mentioned that “brothers” had been sent to Britain, Russia and Europe, but some of them had been arrested. “The winds blew against what the ships desire," the letter noted, according to BBC.
Naseer, a Pakistani citizen, has reportedly denied the charges and told the U.S. court that he holds “no extremist or jihadist views.”
“I have never been trained by Al Qaeda,” the 28-year-old reportedly said, adding: “I am not guilty of these offenses.” He also reportedly said that carrying out terrorist attacks is against his religion. “Terrorism is not compatible with Islam,” he said.
However, prosecutors reportedly said that some of the documents referred directly to Naseer.
"Here we are praise be to God, watching the faltering of the United States and its allies… By God we shall not stop by His will except at the doors of the White House and to raise the banner of monotheism on their so called Statue of Liberty,” one of the letters read, according to Sky News.
Naseer was arrested with 11 other suspects in England in 2009 but was not charged. He was arrested again a year later and extradited to the U.S. in 2013.