Terror suspects on trial in Europe

Spain and Belgium try 36 men for plotting bombings and sending fighters to Iraq.

    The 30 men are accused of plotting several
    bomb attacks in Spain [Reuters]

    Moroccan Abderrahmane Tahiri, is accused of masterminding the plot to ram a truck loaded with 500kg of explosives into the National Court in downtown Madrid.
     
    The indictment said Tahiri was the leader of an "organised and structured terrorist group" committed to waging jihad on Spanish targets, including the court.
     
    "With that explosion, they hoped to kill the persons within and destroy the files held against the 'mujahidin brotherhood' inside," it said.
     
    Belgian trial
     

    The Belgian suspects allegedly sent a woman
    to Iraq in 2005 on a suicide mission [Reuters]

    In Belgium, another trial opened involving six men accused of being part of a terror network that sent fighters to Iraq including a Belgian woman who carried out a suicide attack in 2005.
     
    The trial takes place amid growing fears that Belgium is being used by Islamic fighters as a logistical and support base for attacks in other countries.
     
    The six mostly Belgians of North African descent face charges including membership in a terror group, forgery and receiving stolen goods - charges denied by all of them.
     
    Prosecutors allege the network was responsible for sending, among others, Muriel Degauque, 38, to Iraq for a suicide attack on US troops in November 2005.
     
    The authorities said Degauque, who died when the explosives went off prematurely, had been a member of a group that embraced al-Qaeda's ideology.
     
    Fighter or terrorist
     

    "Belgian law says that if they are fighters, they cannot fall under the anti-terror legislation"

    Christophe Marchand,
    defence lawyer

    A defence lawyer, Christophe Marchand, raised the question of whether Belgian law considered individuals who went to fight in Iraq as terrorists.
     
    "It is fundamental because Belgian law says that if they are fighters, they cannot fall under the anti-terror legislation," he said.
     
    "If they are terrorists, they should be condemned as terrorists. If not, the Belgian judge is not competent."
     
    Officials said the procedural issue is expected to be settled by Thursday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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