Al-Qaeda's Spanish chief is jailed for 27 years
26 September 2005, MADRID — A Spanish court has jailed the head of an al-Qaeda cell in Spain for 27 for his part in the 9/11 attacks on America.
26 September 2005
MADRID — A Spanish court has jailed the head of an al-Qaeda cell in Spain for 27 for his part in the 9/11 attacks on America.
Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, Abu Dahdah, was one of 18 found guilty in the biggest trial involving the network so far in Europe.
Another 17 men were jailed for between six and 11 years
Among those was the Al-Jazeera journalist Taysir Alony, who was jailed for seven years.
Six others have been cleared.
Three of the suspects are accused of helping to organise the 11 September 2001 attacks on America, the BBC reported.
Prosecutors wanted the three to serve jail terms of 25 years for each of the 2,973 victims of the attack.
The other 21 men were accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation. All 24 denied the charges against them.
The three magistrates presiding over the case were under considerable public and political pressure to hand out guilty verdicts.
The case pre-dated the Madrid bombing in March 2004 that killed 191 people, but Spain wants to be seen to be tough on Islamic militants before the trial of those suspected of involvement in the bombing begins next year.
The judges read out the verdicts in a high-security courtroom in Madrid on Monday.
Syrian-born Immad Yarkas was convicted of being the head of an al-Qaeda cell in Spain.
Yarkas, 42, headed the cell which provided funding and logistics for the people who planned the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Along with Driss Chebli, who was jailed for six years, he set up a meeting in June 2001, which was attended by at least one of the attack ringleaders, Mohammed Atta.
The third, Jose Luis Galan, who was jailed for nine years, filmed the twin towers and other targets, material which was passed on to al-Qaeda operatives.
Yarkas dismissed the trial as a farce, denied knowledge of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and condemned the 11 September attacks.
Galan maintained that he is opposed to terrorist violence.
The other defendants - mostly men born in Syria or Morocco - are charged with belonging to a terrorist group, but not of planning for 11 September.
They faced sentences of nine to 21 years if convicted.
Alouny, who interviewed Bin Laden after the attacks, had claimed he was only doing his job.
Defence lawyers argued the case consists of doubts and suspicions but little concrete evidence.
All the defendants in the five month trial were part of a group of 41 suspects indicted by judge Baltasar Garzon.
Judge Garzon claimed Spain was a key base for hiding, helping, recruiting and financing al-Qaeda members in the lead-up to the attacks on New York and Washington.
Subject: Spanish news