A British Airways passenger jet taxis past parked BA jets at Heathrow airport in London
A British Airways passenger jet taxis past parked BA jets at Heathrow airport in London Reuters

A British Airways IT expert who conspired to blow up an airplane has been convicted of terror charges.

Rajib Karim, a 31-year old Briton of Bangladeshi descent was arrested last year in Newcastle.

In testimony at Woolwich Crown Court, Karim used his position at the airline to access confidential information for Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Yemeni cleric. Jurors were told that the defendant was devoted an extreme jihadist cause and determined to become a martyr for Islam.

Karim was found guilty on four charges, including sharing information of use to hate groups.

According to court testimony, Karim, originally from Dhaka and who moved to Newcastle with his wife in 2006, became enamored the extremist organization Jammat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) under the influenced of his younger brother Tehzeeb.

He was also described in court as a mild-mannered, well-educated and respectful man who concealed his hatred for the West by joining a gym, playing football and never discussing his views.

After the conviction, Colin Gibbs, counter terrorism lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: The most chilling element of this case is probably the fact that Karim tried to enroll as cabin crew and anyone can imagine how horrific the consequences of this could have been, had he succeeded. Karim's deep determination to plan terror attacks whatever the cost was frightening. He found a position as asoftware engineer, which the prosecution said he considered the perfect job, giving an opportunity sooner or later to fulfill his deadly objective.

Karim allegedly held meetings with fellow Islamic jihadists at Heathrow Airport and started exchanging messages with al-Awlaki in 2009. One of his plans was to explode a US-bound airliner.

The fact that Karim has been found guilty of such a heinous plot shows why we will never be complacent” commented the Home Secretary Theresa May. We know that we face a serious threat from terrorism and national security remains this government's top priority.

The case was broken by police who spent nine months deciphering complex encrypted messages on Karim’s computer.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecutor, said of Karin: He is ... an Islamic extremist, with close association to, if not membership of Jamaat ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, an organization committed to the establishment of Islamic rule in Bangladesh, responsible for terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, and with links to al-Qaeda. The defendant ... believes terrorism, including murder of civilians, is permissible to establish, as he views it, a true Islamic state. [He] was anxious himself to carry out such an attack and determined to seek martyrdom.

Karim will be sentenced on March 18.