A British student who escaped a group that plotted a spree of bombings across southern England said that he was blinded by conspirators and so helped financing the storage of bomb-making.
Nabeel Hussain, 22, walked free from London's central Criminal Court on Monday as five others were jailed for life. He said he agreed to pay for the storage of 1,300 pounds (590 kilograms) of fertilizer at a London storage unit because he naively believed it was sand and that his friend Omar Khyam needed it for construction work.
"I was new to university, I thought he was decent and felt comfortable doing that," Hussain told Sky News television.
Hussain said that a friend later told him it was fertilizer and could be used to make explosives but was also reassured that Khyam was not planning to make a bomb.
"I think it was because of my naivety that I ended up in this situation," he said.
During the trial it was revealed that Khyam was the chief plotter in a plan to bomb targets in and around London and had traveled to militia camps in Pakistan, where he met Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an al-Qaida operative now held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
Khyam; Anthony Garcia, 25, Jawad Akbar, 23, Waheed Mahmood, 35 and Salahuddin Amin, 32 were jailed for life for conspiring to cause explosions.
Hussain said he was introduced to Khyam by his cousin Akbar and believed him to be a "decent guy."
His 2004 arrest and subsequent detention during the yearlong trial caused him emotional torment, he said.
"I was very angry with Omar and Jawad as in the headlines it said he was in a gang trying to kill people, I was called a terrorist who tried to kill people. It was very hard," Hussain said, adding that he was not a terrorist and could not understand how people could justify terrorism.
Asked about his views on the men who were found guilty, Hussain said they had wasted their lives.
"It's a shame they have wasted their lives for something pointless," he said. "There are so many opportunities they could have had with their lives in this country."
Part of the group's defense was that they were not planning attacks in Britain, and Hussain said that after listening to the evidence he was left unconvinced that there was a plot in this country.
There were "a lot of grays - it wasn't black and white," he said.