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Terror suspect goes on trial in Berlin

4 May 2004

BERLIN – A Tunisian, who trained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, went on trial in Berlin Tuesday for the attempted formation of a terrorist organisation. 

Security was tight at the district court as the trial began. Ihsan G., 33, is alleged to have entered Germany illegally in January 2003 after his stint of training and to have plotted bomb attacks with four fellow Islamists. He was arrested in Berlin in March 2003.

Police say his detention may have prevented serious bloodshed at US or Jewish facilities in the German capital.

The defendant, whose full surname has been withheld under German journalistic ethics guidelines, is also charged with tax evasion.

According to the indictment, he first moved to Germany in 1996 and was a prosperous gold and silver merchant as well as doing interpreting work for a government agency that reviews refugees’ claims to political asylum.

The indictment does not assert he was working under the orders of al-Qaeda, but instead says that G. sought sympathizers at Berlin’s al-Nur Mosque to jointly carry out bomb attacks that would “humiliate the western world and defend the Moslem world”.



Subject: German news