By Debbie Gregory.
A British man is accused of building improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with “deadly intent” as part of a campaign against American soldiers in Iraq.
The fingerprints of Anis Abid Sardar, of Wembley, London, were on IEDs planted on the road west, out of Baghdad, in 2007. One of these IEDs killed Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson, of 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.
At the opening of Sardar’s trial at Woolwich Crown Court, the jury heard that his prints were found on two of four devices linked to the case, but that Sardar denied any involvement in bomb-making. The statement was quickly retracted by Sardar’s lawyer, Henry Blaxland, QC, who said, “Can I just make it clear, Mr. Sardar accepts the finger marks attributed to him … are his.”
Max Hill, QC, told the jury: “This is an unusual trial in that almost all of the evidence you will hear and see comes from Iraq. The offences, we say, are the most serious imaginable, and the British link is the fact that the defendant, a British citizen, lives and works here. For that reason, it is lawful to place him on trial in London, even though the activities you will hear about took place far away in Iraq.
Police searching the accused’s property found an Arabic language bomb-making manual.
The court heard a vivid account of the moment the bomb went off on the road between the Iraqi capital and Abu Ghraib prison, fatally wounding Sgt. Johnson and seriously injuring his comrades.
Specialist Elroy Brooks, one of the five US personnel on board the Stryker eight-wheel armored vehicle role, told the court he was blown about 50 feet outside the vehicle.
Sgt Johnson begged his colleagues “do not let me die here”, as he lay fatally wounded after the blast in September 2007. He then told the platoon medic “make me comfortable”.
Specialist Brooks, Staff Sergeant Joshua Lord and driver Private Luke Stinson all suffered concussions. The explosion left a hole in the vehicle about a foot and half in diameter, and one of its wheels was blown 100 feet down the road. The blast also left Mark Aggers, who was serving as a gunner on the Stryker, with serious shrapnel wounds.
Johnson, originally from Washington, DC, was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Sardar has pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion.
The trial will reconvene on Friday, May 1st, 2015.
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Military Connection: London Cabbie Linked to Baghdad IEDs: By Debbie Gregory