Dutch police arrest Morocco bombing suspect
3 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch police have arrested an Al Qaeda suspect who was allegedly involved in terrorist bomb attacks in the North African nation.
The Public Prosecution (OM) in Roermond said on Tuesday that the Belgian man of Moroccan ancestry was arrested on 27 January in the Dutch province of Limburg, news agency ANP reported.
The man was detained during a routine traffic check when police discovered he was the subject of an international arrest warrant.
The man is in remand custody in the Dutch city Vught and Roermond Court must decide on 18 May whether to extradite him to Morocco.
He is suspected of involvement in the five suicide bombings in Casablanca on 16 May last year. Anonymous sources in Morocco have previously claimed that the bombers might have received help from people in the Netherlands and Belgium.
A total of 45 people, including the 12 bombers, were killed in the attacks which were directed at restaurants, hotels and Jewish targets. Four men have already been sentenced to death in Morocco for the bombings.
The bombers allegedly did not have the skills to make the bombs themselves, but it is suspected that they received help from Moroccan supporters in the Netherlands and Belgium who were trained in Afghanistan
But lawyer Victor Koppe said the arrested suspect denied the allegations and indicated he was amazed that the Netherlands was considering extraditing him despite the absence of an extradition treaty between the Dutch and Moroccan authorities.
“My client will definitely not get a fair trail in Morocco and he could possibly get the death sentence,” he said.
Koppe also claimed that Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has requested more information from the Moroccan authorities. According to the lawyer, the extradition request also accuses the suspect of financing terrorism.
A Radio 1 news report said on Tuesday night that the arrested man is suspected of having close links to Osama bin Laden and is allegedly a member of the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
Five men were arrested in the Netherlands last October on allegations they were involved in the preparations of a terrorist attack. They were allegedly linked to a man involved in the Casablanca bombings, but were later released due to a lack of evidence.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news