A look at the world’s al-Qaida trials

Spain has joined a growing list of countries that have passed guilty verdicts on al-Qaida operatives, jailing 18 people on Monday at the end of Europe’s largest trial involving the group.

Spain's al-Qaida trial was Europe's biggest thus far
Spain's al-Qaida trial was Europe's biggest thus far


Spain jailed Syrian national Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas for 27 years after finding him guilty of conspiring to commit murder with regard to the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Also jailed were 17 figures judged to have played lesser roles within the group, including Aljazeera TV reporter Taysir Alluni, famous for interviewing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan within weeks of the attacks.

Spain is to bring to trial next year 28 suspected al-Qaida operatives who carried out the 11 March 2004 train bombings in Madrid, killing 191 people.

Algerian Mohammed Achraf is in detention on suspicion of planning to blow up the Spanish High Court.


Germany jailed Moroccan Mounir el Motassadeq for 15 years in February 2003 for complicity to commit murder and belonging to a terrorist group, the so-called Hamburg cell run by the alleged lead September 11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta.

Mounir El Motassadeq was linked
to the “Hamburg cell” (file)

In a retrial, he was sentenced to seven years.

But Germany angered Spain earlier this summer in freeing a suspected al-Qaida financier from jail after Germany’s highest court blocked his extradition to Spain.

The federal constitutional court ruled that handing over Syrian-German businessman Mamoun Darkazanli to Spain on a new EU arrest warrant would violate Germany’s basic law.

A trial is under way in Dusseldorf for members of al-Tawhid, an organisation linked to al-Qaida. They are accused of preparing attacks on Jewish targets in Germany.

An al-Tawhid member of Jordanian origin, Shadi Abdallah, has been jailed for four years.


Tunisian-born Tarek Maaroufi sits
in a police van in Brussels (file)

The Brussels appeals court on 9 June 2004 confirmed a 10-year sentence for Tunisian al-Qaida sympathiser Nizar Trabelsi for planning an attack on a US military base in Belgium.

The appeals court handed a seven-year term to Belgian-Tunisian Tarek Maaroufi for organising a network of document falsifiers with a view to implanting volunteer Islamic extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Djamel Beghal was handed a 10-year sentence on 15 March for setting up a terrorist network targeting US interests in France.

Algerian Mohamed Baadache was given a similar jail term for organising training for volunteers in camps that bin Laden ran from 1993 to 1996.


A trial is ongoing for 71 Islamists charged with the Istanbul bombings that left 63 dead in November 2003.

United States

British national Richard Reid received a life term in January 2003 for trying to blow up a jet on the way from Paris to Miami with a bomb hidden in his shoe in December 2001. He also stood accused of receiving training at al-Qaida camps.

Zacarias Moussaoui was the first
charged in connection with 9/11

French national of Moroccan origin Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person charged in connection with the September 11 attacks, faces the death penalty after pleading guilty of complicity in mass murder.

Last July, Algerian al-Qaida operative Ahmed Ressam was jailed for 32 years in Seattle after being found guilty of trying to organise an attack on Los Angeles airport in late 1999.


Sanaa’s appeals court confirmed in February a death sentence passed on Abdel Rahim al-Nachiri, held in the United States, but commuted that passed on Jamal al-Badaoui to 15 years in jail after the attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000 in which 19 people were killed and which was claimed by bin Laden.


A Jordanian court in June 2004 confirmed two death sentences and eight jail terms against 10 Islamists accused of al-Qaida involvement.


More than 30 people have received varying terms for the attacks that killed 202 people in October 2002 in Bali and which were claimed by the Jamaa Islamiya group, a suspected al-Qaida affiliate.

Three men were condemned to death and another was handed a life sentence.

Elsewhere, prison terms of one to 10 years have been handed down to al-Qaida members in Britain, Italy, Morocco and Azerbaijan.

Source: AFP

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