Expatica news

Terror detainee faces further charges

14 January 2004

BRUSSELS – A man convicted last October of having links with Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network will stand trial on further terror-linked charges, the Belgian authorities have decided.

In October Taarek Maaroufi, a Belgian citizen of Tunisian origin, was condemned to six years in prison after being accused of involvement in a fake passport ring linked to the 9 September 2001 killing of anti-Taleban Afghan military commander Ahmad Shah Masood.

But on Tuesday senior judges in Brussels ruled that there was enough evidence to merit new proceedings against him.

Prosecutors believe Maaroufi was part of a pro-Bin Laden cell they have named the ‘Antwerp Network’. They say the group had links with Al Qaeda itself and also with similar Islamic extremist cells in Italy, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.

The Belgian authorities also argue that, had it not been dismantled, the Antwerp network could have been responsible for a series of international terror attacks.

Maaroufi is set to stand trial on 22 March alongside two other suspects, one Maroccan and the other Iraqi.

Because Belgium has no specific anti-terrorism laws the men will be charged with membership of an ‘association of wrongdoers’ and with falsifying documents.

Other presumed members of the Antwerp network are being held in Italy, Spain and at the US military base at Guantanamo bay on Cuba.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news