PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, June 6, 2007 - Shouting "I am an innocent man, this is all a setup," Abdel Nur was taken to court here and formally charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act against the United States government.
He was remanded and will reappear in court on June 11. He was unrepresented by an attorney and told Senior Magistrate Lianne Lee Kim in the Port-of-Spain Fourth Magistrates' Court that he was poor and could not afford an attorney. Attorney Dana Seetahal SC, appearing for the Crown said that because Nur was not a Trinidadian he was not entitled to public-funded defence but it was up to the discretion of the Magistrate, pointing out there was such a precedence.
Nur, who was born as Campton Eversley, is the last of the four suspects arrested for conspiring to blow up a pipeline that feeds jet fuel to the JFK International Airport. US District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Rosalyn R. Mauskopf has alleged that if the plan worked it would have caused untold damage. Other reports suggest that the pipeline was designed to shutdown when it detected heat and while some damage would occur it would not be on the same scale as what was feared by the authorities.
Two of the accused were arrested in Trinidad Saturday and another in New York Friday.
When his picture appeared in local newspapers neighbours in Diego Martin, in western Trinidad where he was staying approached him and urged him to turn himself in which he did just before noon Tuesday.
US court documents allege that Nur went to Trinidad to seek help from the radical Islamic Jamaat al Muslimeen to plan the attack in detail however leader of the sect, Yasin Abu Bakr, has strenuously denied involvement and distanced himself from the alleged plotters.
Abdul Kadir, a citizen of Guyana and former opposition member of parliament as a member of the Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNCR), and Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, were formally charged Monday here when they appeared in court. They will return to court June 11 for a bail hearing while extradition proceedings have been set for August 2. Their attorneys say they will fight extradition all the way to the British Privy Council.
The men have proclaimed their innocence and like Nur say that they are being set up.
In a statement released by their families, they claim that they were the victims of a campaign by the US Republican Party of President George W. Bush aimed at bolstering its standing in the 2008 presidential election by sowing fear about terrorism.
"Unfortunately, innocent persons with no connection whatsoever to the political and military disputes between the United States and the Middle East ... have been used as pawns in an international game of subterfuge."
The alleged plot has been in the making since 2006, the US District Attorney has asserted presenting selections of recorded conversations in which the men alleged plotted to blow up the airport and a section of Queens.
American investigators from the FBI are expected in Trinidad and Tobago to question the suspects in the hope of uncovering whether there are other conspirators.
Up to the time of the arrests, nearly a year and a half after the alleged plot started, the quartet was still at an "aspirational" rather than operational stage. They did not have the means (money, explosives, bomb making skill and expertise, or a detailed plan) to put the plot into action