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U.S. Charges British Citizen With Helping Convicted Terrorist

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2004 – A U.S. grand jury indictment unsealed in a Boston court today accuses a British citizen of assisting convicted terrorist Richard Reid in a scheme to blow up airplanes and passengers.

Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the charges during a news conference here. The accused, Britisher Saajid Badat, 25, faces life imprisonment if found guilty of all seven counts contained in the indictment.

The indictment against Badat, Ashcroft said, demonstrates "yet another case where the investigation benefited from the prosecutorial tools provided by the USA Patriot Act."

The act, Ashcroft noted, was employed to obtain a court order to scrutinize Internet traffic between Badat and Reid, which allegedly demonstrated collusion between the two men to destroy airliners.

Badat already faces trial by a British court for similar charges.

Reid, also a British citizen, had attempted to blow up himself and 168 passengers of American Airlines Flight 63 during a Paris-to-Miami flight on Dec. 22, 2001. Reid was in the process of lighting a match to ignite explosives tucked inside his sneakers when alert plane crew members and passengers overpowered him. The flight was diverted to Boston; hence, that's where the charges were made.

Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up Flight 63 and is now serving a life sentence in the United States.

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