This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/4032

Moroccan terror leader Abdelkader Belliraj gets life in jail

July 28, 2009

Moroccan terror leader gets life in jail
(AP)
July 28, 2009

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j_4pVAPFiTNh6NQYxQQl0oxTFFMgD99NC4G01


SALE, Morocco A man accused of leading a terrorist network was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for terror attacks in Morocco, holdups in Europe, large-scale money laundering projects and arms trafficking. Abdelkader Belliraj, a 51-year-old dual Moroccan-Belgian national, had faced the death penalty.

He maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings. He was charged along with 34 co-defendents. In addition to the charges he was tried on, officials said they suspect Belliraj of having taken part in several murders in Belgium, a massive robbery in Luxembourg, combat training in Iran or Lebanon and meeting with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan a few days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Belliraj's co-defendents included opposition Islamist politicians, a university professor, a police superintendent, and a Moroccan journalist working for Al-Manar, the TV run by Lebanon's hardline Hezbollah group. The 34 co-defendents were handed sentences ranging from 30 years in prison to one-year suspended sentences.

The trial, which began in October, was the North African country's highest-profile terror case. It embodied some of the worst fears of security chiefs in North Africa and Europe: radical Islamists who double up as gangsters and use their dual citizenship to spawn an international terror network. Morocco has imprisoned over 1,000 suspected terrorists since 2003, when al-Qaida-linked extremists killed 45 people in a string of attacks in Casablanca, the country's economic powerhouse.

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/4032