London cab driver guilty of making bombs to kill US soldiers in Iraq

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From the London Evening Standard, The Guardian and The Express

Anis Abid Sardar, 38, convicted of murder and conspiracy to murder relating to series of improvised explosive devices planted in Baghdad in 2007.

Anis Abid Sardar, 38, was found guilty of the plot at Woolwich Crown Court today in a landmark legal ruling after a deadly campaign to kill US soldiers fighting in Iraq. Sardar, from Wembley, was responsible for the death of 34 year-old Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson, of 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

A bomb he had built had hit the armoured vehicle Sgt Johnson was travelling in after Sardar’s lethal weapons were planted in or around the road west out of Baghdad in 2007, the court heard. The black cab driver built bombs as part of a “deadly” campaign to kill Americans fighting in the country.

Sardar, 38, was snared some seven years later after officials at the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Centre (Tedac) found his fingerprints on some of the bombs. In 2012, officers who were searching his London home as part of a separate investigation found an Arab language bombmaking manual with references to Islam on a computer disc.

Police and prosecutors have not clarified how the British and American authorities worked together to identify Sardar as a suspect. It is believed that this is the first case of someone being convicted in the UK for crimes carried out in Iraq.

The defendant originally denied to police that he had been ‘directly or indirectly’ involved in bombmaking. But on the second day of his trial he admitted that fingerprints found on two of four devices linked to the case were his.

Denying all the charges against him, he told the jury that he became involved in the Iraqi insurgency to protect his fellow Sunni Muslims from Shia militias. He claimed American soldiers had not been his targets, blaming instead “the likes of Dick Cheney, George Bush and Tony Blair” for their deaths.

A jury of seven women and five men took 11 hours and 16 minutes to find him guilty of murder and conspiracy to murder. 

The defendant remained calm as the verdicts were read out. 

The judge said he would sentence Sardar at 10am tomorrow.

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