|COPENHAGEN -- The court found Abdul Basit Abu Lifa guilty of involvement in a terror plot uncovered in Bosnia in October 2005 with the arrest of two men allegedly preparing to carry out a terror attack.
The pair, Swedish national Mirsad Bektasevic and Abdulkadir Cesur, a Turk living in Denmark, were convicted by a Bosnian court last month of planning an attack aimed at forcing foreign troops to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. The exact target of the plot remains unclear.
In the Danish case, police arrested Abu-Lifa and the three other defendants on Oct. 27, 2005, after a tip from the Bosnian police. Investigators used records of mobile phone calls and Internet chats to link the defendants in Denmark to the Bosnian plot.
A jury in the Eastern High Court said Thursday there was enough evidence to prove that all four defendants were involved in the plot, but the three-judge panel disagreed and overturned the verdicts against all but Abu-Lifa.
Under Danish law, judges have the right to overturn any decision made by the jury.
"It is very, very rare that this happens," said Thorkild Hoeyer, the defense attorney for one of the freed defendants, Elias Ibn Hsain.
Prosecutors had demanded at least eight years in prison for Abu-Lifa, a Danish citizen of Palestinian descent, but the judges handed him a seven-year sentence, citing his young age.
Imad Ali Jaloud, who prosecutors said was the leader of the group, was kissed and hugged by family members and friends outside the court room. He refused to speak to media as he left.
Another acquitted defendant, Adnan Avdic, cried quietly inside the packed courtroom after it became clear he would be released.
Abu-Lifa's lawyer, Anders Boelskifte, said they had not yet decided whether to appeal against the ruling.