NEW YORK - A Pakistani-born man accused by US authorities of participating in an al Qaeda plot to attack targets in Europe and the United States took the stand in his defense Wednesday, denying any affiliation with the militant group.
Amid Naseer, 28, denied engaging in terrorism and said he was not guilty. He described himself to jurors in Brooklyn, New York, as a semi-professional cricket player who came from a "happy childhood."
Naseer called himself Islamic and religious. He said the movement he belonged to was non-political and "did not allow any discussion of jihad."
"Terrorism is not compatible with Islam," Naseer said.
The testimony by Naseer, who has been representing himself at trial, came after federal prosecutors rested in the case. For the first time in US court, they presented documents seized from the May 2011 raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
The documents were intended to bolster prosecutors' claims that Naseer, as the leader of an al Qaeda cell, engaged in a plot against a shopping center in Manchester, England in 2009, an attack that ultimately did not happen.
The attack was one of three that al Qaeda cells were working on, along with plots against the New York City subway system and a Copenhagen newspaper, prosecutors say.