19 December 2002
ROTTERDAM — The public prosecutor has lodged an appeal against the acquittal of four suspected terrorists alleged to have been involved in an Al Qaeda plot to bomb the US embassy in Paris.
The Rotterdam court acquitted Frenchman Jerome Courtailler, 28, Algerian Abdelghani Rabia, 30, Algerian Adel Tobibichi, 24, and a Dutchman of Ethiopian origin, Saaid Ibrahim, 23, on Wednesday.
It acquitted the men because the suspects were arrested and their houses searched based on information from the Dutch secret service, AIVD. The court said the public prosecution should have first conducted an investigation before the arrests were made.
Dutch associated press ANP said the court’s ruling could have a serious impact on two other terror trials — set to start in March — because the public prosecution again carried out arrests based only on information from the AIVD, formerly known as the BVD.
But the Rotterdam court also said on Wednesday if it had needed to make a ruling based on the evidence alone — which included an Osama bin Laden videotape found in the house raids — it would have acquitted the four suspects anyway.
Despite this the prosecution said it would appeal, but the hearing date has not yet been set.
The four suspects are alleged to have helped plan an attack in Paris by providing false passports and other documents. Three were arrested on 13 September last year, the fourth was extradited from Canada last summer.
Two of the accused men were released on Wednesday, but the two Algerians remain in custody for possible deportation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2002]
Subject: Dutch news