April 5, 2014 | Posted in: News

Syed Talha AhsanBabar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan denied access to secret files

(Reuters) – Two British men who pleaded guilty to raising money for al Qaeda and the Taliban were denied their bid on Friday to gain access to secret documents about a witness whose testimony could have a major impact on how long they spend in prison.

The pair, 39-year-old Babar Ahmad and 34-year-old Syed Talha Ahsan, have argued in papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, that they have a right to more information on the witness, British citizen Saajid Badat.

According to U.S. prosecutors, Badat was recruited into al Qaeda as a result of Ahmad’s work and went on to play a role in the attempt by “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, another Briton, to blow up a jetliner over the Atlantic Ocean just three months after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Defense attorneys for Ahmad and Ahsan argued before U.S. District Judge Janet Hall that the government should provide transcripts of 55 taped interviews with Badat conducted in 2008 by British authorities and photos of suspected militants.