Tight security as major terror trial starts up in Belgium
23 January 2006, BRUSSELS – The trial of 11 people suspected of trying to overthrow the Turkish government began on Monday in Belgium.
23 January 2006
BRUSSELS – The trial of 11 people suspected of trying to overthrow the Turkish government began on Monday in Belgium.
Fehriye Erdal and 10 others are believed to belong to the DHKP-C, an extreme left-wing Turkish group called the Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Army/Front (DHKPC), which the United States and European Union consider to be a terrorist organisation.
The DHKPC wants to overthrow the current Turkish government and says it is prepared to use any means it can to do so. It has already claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks in Turkey, including two suicide bombings in 2001 that killed three Istanbul policemen and an Australian woman. It has also carried out attacks in Germany.
Tight security measures were organised at Bruges court. The media turned out on mass for the trial, however, the main suspect, Erdal, was not present to hear the opening remarks.
The 11 suspects are being charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation, with belonging to a criminal organisation, fraud, the use of false documents and arms offences.
Two of the suspects are also being prosecuted under Belgium's stricter new law against terrorism.
Their trials will be another test of how Belgium's new law works.
A verdict has still to be returned in the case of 13 men, also charged under the new law, who were accused of providing backup for the Madrid and Casablanca bombings.
Those suspects – whose trial finished at the end of last year - will be announced guilty or not guilty on 16 February.
They are accused of belonging to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, the GICM, a terrorist group which is believed to have links to Al Quaida and which is suspected of planning the attacks on Madrid's trains in March 2004 and the Casablanca bombings in May 2003.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news