At the center of the trial is a Palestinian man, one Dr Issam Bassalat, who not only maintains his innocence, but in fact claims he is a victim of a “dirty squabble” between MI5 and so-called dissident Republicans.
Edinburgh-based Dr Bassalat made the incendiary claim during an unsuccessful bail application at Dungannon Magistrates Court.
The prosecution claims that Dr Bassalat, 62, was an intrinsic part of a plan by the New IRA organization to procure weapons.
He is accused of attending an alleged New IRA leadership meeting in Omagh in July that was bugged by MI5.
For his part, Dr Bassalat denies all charges and claims he was “misled” into attending the meeting by an alleged MI5 agent, Dennis McFadden, who had penetrated the New IRA group.
Dr Bassalat was arrested at Heathrow Airport in August.
Upon hearing evidence from both sides the trial judge refused to release Dr Bassalat on bail on the grounds that he poses a flight risk.
The judge made the following statement: “The nature of the alleged offending and taking note of the prevalence of terrorist offences in Northern Ireland and worldwide, and the nature of those who commit such acts, leads me to find a real risk of further offending".
The British media refers to the New IRA and sister organizations, such as the Continuity IRA, as “dissidents” with a view to creating schism and division among the Irish Republican community.