Italian judge drops 'terrorism' charges

An Italian judge has dropped terrorism charges against five North Africans accused of sending bombers to Iraq.

    The judge said the accused were guilty only of guerrilla activities

    Judge Clementina Forleo said on Monday that the five were guerrillas, not terrorists - a ruling that drew a fierce government reaction.
       
    All five had been charged with sending fighters to Iraq and planning attacks in Europe, but the judge said there was no evidence to back up the accusations.

    Forleo added that there was no evidence the four Tunisians and Moroccan were involved in anything beyond what might be considered "guerrilla" activities.

    Jail terms given

    The judge sentenced Abu Yahya Mahir and Ali Bin Sassi Tumi to three years and Muhammad Daki to 22 months in jail for trading forged documents, far less than the prison terms of up to 10 years that prosecutors had sought.

    She referred Idris Nur al-Din and Kamal Hamrawi to another court because of a question of regional jurisdiction.
       
    "Historically, the activity of the cells in question coincided with the United States' attack on Iraq," the statement explaining her judgment said.
       
    "Numerous intercepted conversations refer to that event, and to the need to stem as much as possible its foreseeable negative impact by helping the brothers in the conflict zone, either economically or by sending combatants to strengthen their armed groups.
       
    "It has not been proven that these paramilitary structures provided for concrete programmes with targets exceeding guerrilla activity," the document added. 
       
    Government reaction

    Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said the judge's ruling was a "shameless distortion of a reality that is under the eyes of the entire world".
       
    "To say in the ruling that 'in the conflict in question all armed actors have used instruments with an extremely high offensive potential' means you are placing the victims and the butchers on the same level," Fini said in a statement.
       
    The five men had been charged with "subversive association for international terrorism" under a law Italy introduced after the 9/11 attacks, when governments around the world tightened their anti-terrorist legislation.
       
    The judge said much of the evidence submitted was of very poor quality and relied on intelligence reports rather than hard evidence.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Pick your team and answer as many correct questions in three minutes.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Remembering Chernobyl

    Remembering Chernobyl

    The fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion remains as politicised as ever, 28 years on.