First, from the BBC:
A Pakistani judge has ruled there is not enough evidence to try a key suspect in an alleged airline bomb plot on terrorism charges.
He has moved the case of Rashid Rauf, a Briton, from an anti-terrorism court to a regular court, where he faces lesser charges such as forgery.
Pakistan has presented Mr Rauf as one of the ringleaders behind the alleged plan to blow up flights out of London.
The British authorities say they foiled it with Pakistan’s help in August.
And from the Associated Press:
Terrorism charges were dropped Wednesday against a suspect labeled as a key figure in an alleged plot to blow up jets flying from London to the United States this summer.
. . .
Rauf now faces charges of possessing explosives and forging travel and identity documents, said a court official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to the media.
He faces up to l4 years imprisonment or a fine if convicted, said prosecution lawyer Raja Mohammed Yasin.
If you remember back to when I first wrote on this planned attack, I mentioned that the US government pressed the British government to move ahead with arrests in this case before any actual attacks were tried. The terrorists were on a non-attacking dry run when arrested. I think that moving forward this way may come back to hurt prosecutions, although I hope I’m wrong. By stopping this before any attempts to bring explosives on board occurred, it may have made it harder to definitively pin anything on those involved. Naturally, I realize the trade-off between successful prosecutions and the risk in letting the plot move further towards explosion. It’s a tough call to make, and I hope that the right call was made yet still allows successful prosecution.
[tags]War on liquids update, The latest in the British liquid explosives terrorism plot[/tags]