Prosecutors to retry accused terrorists

Sept. 10, 2008 at 4:34 PM

LONDON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- British prosecutors said Wednesday they will seek retrials of four men accused of plotting to destroy jetliners with liquid bombs.

A London jury convicted three men Monday of conspiracy to commit murder, but they were unable to reach verdicts on the other four members of the group on any charges. Crown prosecutors said they will ask the Woolwich Crown Court to hold new trials for the four, the BBC reported.

"This will include a count that each defendant conspired to detonate improvised explosive devices on transatlantic passenger aircraft," director of public prosecutions Ken Macdonald told the broadcaster. "We shall be returning to court to make this application in due course."

Some analysts have suggested a premature arrest of one of the group's alleged co-conspirators in Pakistan had damaged the case. Peter Clarke, who retired this year as head of the counter-intelligence command, wrote in The Times of London the August 2006 arrest of Rashid Rauf forced British police to make arrests so that potential defendants wouldn't destroy evidence or go into hiding.

Rauf was allegedly arrested at the request of U.S. agencies. British police had been planning to wait and track the suspects, Clarke said.

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