|February 2005 - July 2005|
U.S.S. Cole bombing (October 2000): A Yemeni appeals court in February 2005 overturned the death sentence of Al-Qa'ida terrorist Jamal al-Badawi, sentencing him to fifteen years in prison for his role in the bombing that killed seventeen U.S. servicemen and injured thirty-three others. Alleged mastermind of the Cole attack Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, currently in U.S. custody, still faces the death penalty.
Bali bombings (October 2002): An Indonesian court in March 2005 sentenced Islamic extremist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, 66, to only thirty months in jail for his involvement in the bombings of nightclubs in Bali that killed 202 people. The panel of judges ruled that Bashir had not been directly involved in the blasts, but had given approval for the attack. Both Australia and the U.S. criticized the sentence as too lenient, and Indonesian prosecutors have appealed the sentence. In April 2005, an Indonesian court sentenced Islamic extremist Sunarto Bin Kartodiharjo, alias Adung, to seven years in jail for his role in hiding fugitive Malaysian extremist Noordin Mohammed Top, who is wanted for the Bali bombings and two other Jakarta attacks.
Limburg oil tanker bombing (October 2002): A Yemeni appeals court in February 2005 sentenced two Al-Qa'ida militants to death and jailed thirteen other Al-Qa'ida militants for their role in the bombing of the French oil tanker Limburg, in which a Bulgarian sailor died, and for plotting to blow up five Western embassies and assassinate the U.S. ambassador in Yemen.
Madrid bombings (March 2004): Twenty-five suspects have been jailed and charged in connection with the bombings of four commuter trains in Madrid that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500 others. More than sixty other detainees have been released but are still considered suspects. Most recently, in March 2005, Spanish and British police arrested two brothers in connection with the bombings. In Madrid, Syrian national Mohammad Almallah Dabas was arrested and twenty-four hours later, British police arrested his brother, Spanish national Moutaz Almallah Dabas, 39, in Berkshire. Both men are accused of using a Madrid apartment to house Islamic extremist recruits and are suspected of having ties to several March 11 suspects. In April, terror charges were filed against nine more suspects. The four Syrians, two Moroccans, an Algerian, an Egyptian, and a Palestinian are accused of involvement in logistics and recruitment tasks before the bombings.
Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta (September 2004): The first trials in the bombing of Australia's Jakarta embassy opened in March 2005 in Indonesia. The attack killed ten people and wounded over 150 others. Alleged Islamic extremist Irun Hidayat, 33, is charged with "planning or motivating" other people to carry out acts of terrorism through providing military and religious training to Malaysian suicide bomber Heri Kurniawan, a.k.a. Heri Golun. Indonesian militant Agus Ahmad bin Engkos Kosasih, 31, is also on trial charged with transporting and storing the explosives used in the bombing. Prosecutors allege the two suspected Malaysian fugitive masterminds of the attack, Azahari Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top, were with Agus when he transported the explosives.
Sinai resorts bombings (October 2004): Egyptian authorities in March 2005 charged three Egyptians in connection with the bombings of Sinai tourist resorts that killed thirty-four people. Mohamed Sabeh and Mohamed Abdullah Rabaa are already in custody, while fugitive Mohamed Ahmed Fulayfel will stand trial in absentia. Two others involved in carrying out the attacks were killed in February 2005 while on the run from Egyptian security forces; the Palestinian mastermind of the attacks, Ayad Saleh, and his Egyptian aide, Suleiman Ahmed Saleh, died in the attack on the Taba Hilton.
Madrid Bombings (March 2004): In May 2005, Spanish authorities charged nine additional suspects with collaboration with a terrorist group in connection with the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people. One of the nine, Moroccan-born Driss Chebli, 33, is already on trial in Madrid for belonging to a Spanish Al-Qa'ida cell that helped plan September 11. The eight other suspects are Mohamed El Ouazzani, Daniel Fernandez Fernandez, Mohamed Mohamed Ali, Mouad Benkhalafa, Said Tlidni, Jose Angel Moran Suarez, Manuel Javier Gonzalez Garcia and Sanel Sjekirka. Moroccan-born Ouazzani was arrested in December 2004 on suspicion of involvement in a failed plot to bomb the National Court headquarters in Madrid. Authorities also arrested three Moroccans suspected of helping fund the train bombings: Mourad Bhar, 20, and brothers Abdelkhalak Chergui, 29, and Abdelhak Chergui, 32, are also suspected of having supplied weapons to the train bombers.
Several weeks later, in June 2005, authorities arrested five more people in connection with the train bombings, including Moroccan native Mohamed Larbi Ben Sellam, 28, also linked to the foiled National Court plot. He was charged with belonging to a terrorist organization while the other four were charged with the lesser offense of collaborating with a terrorist organization. The four others, Mohamed el Idrissi, Abdenneri Essebbar, Hassan Amrani Boukhorza and Driss Belhadi, are accused of helping key suspects in the bombings flee Spain. One of those who fled, Mohamed Afalah, reportedly killed himself in a suicide attack in Iraq in May 2005. (expatica, 5/24/05, cnn.com, 6/15/05, 6/20/05)
Sami Al-Arian/Islamic Jihad: The trial of former University of South Florida (USF) computer engineering professor Sami Al-Arian, 47, opened in Tampa in June 2005. Al-Arian, along with former USF instructor Sameeh Hamoudeh, 45, former Chicago-area Muslim leader Hatim Naji Fariz, 32, and Chicago businessman Ghassan Zayed Ballut, 43, face a fifty-three-count indictment that includes charges of providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering. They are accused of using WISE, an Islamic academic think tank and a Palestinian charity founded by Al-Arian, as centers of fundraising and communications for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization responsible for terrorist attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Also charged but still at large are Islamic Jihad head Ramadan Shallah, Abdul Aziz Odeh, Muhammad Tasir al-Khatib, Mazen al-Najjar and Bashir Nafi. According to federal prosecutors, the government's case against the men is built around wiretapped telephone calls and faxes that would link the defendants to IJ and terror attacks.
Al-Qa'ida Cell/Madrid: In Europe's biggest court case against terror cells with alleged ties to Usama bin Ladin, a group of 24 Al-Qa'ida suspects went on trial in Madrid in April 2005. Three of the twenty-four are charged with helping plan the September 11 attack and providing logistical support to the hijackers: Alleged cell leader and alleged leader of Al -Qa'ida in Spain, Syrian-born Spaniard Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, a.k.a. Abu Dahdah, 42, Jose Luis Galan, 39 and Driss Chebli, 33. The other twenty-one suspects face charges related to membership or association with a terrorist group, weapons possession, document falsification and fraud. One of the suspects, Spanish citizen of Syrian descent Tayseer Alouni, 50, is a television reporter for the Arab network Al Jazeera. The trial ended and a verdict is expected in mid-September 2005.
Al -Qa'ida Cell/Yemen: Eight suspected Al-Qa'ida militants are on trial in Yemen for plotting attacks on Western targets in Gulf Arab states, planning to attack government sites and foreign interests in Yemen and to assassinate the country's prime minister and ministers of defense and interior. The suspects are Iraqi Anwar al-Jilani, 20, Syrian Mohammad Abdelwahhab Bakri, 24, Syrian Ahmad Bakri, 22 and Yemenis Khaled al-Batati, 23, Salah Othman, 33, Omran al-Faqih, 31, Abderrahman Basira, 25, and Majed Mizan, 21.
Chemical Weapons Plot/Jordan: Thirteen people are currently on trial in Jordan on charges of planning to bomb the headquarters of Jordanian intelligence in Amman with chemical weapons. Nine are in custody and four are being tried in absentia, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Suleiman Khaled Darweesh, a.k.a. Abu Ghadiya, an Al-Qa'ida operative and senior Zarqawi aide reportedly killed by Iraqi forces near the Iraqi-Syrian border in June 2005. According to the indictment, Al-Zarqawi intended that suicide bombers would detonate vehicles filled with chemicals outside the intelligence headquarters. A Jordanian chemical expert, Colonel Najeh al-Azam, reportedly testified at the trial that a large quantity of plastic containers seized from the defendants contained hydrogen peroxide. Azam said the suspects planned to add ground black cumin to the solution, which would have made a powerful toxic explosive substance that would have caused death, illnesses and blindness. One of the suspects, Azmi al-Jayousi, confessed that his group had plotted the chemical attack under instruction from al-Zarqawi; he later told the court that his confession was coerced. In July 2005, media reported that the nine suspects in custody admitted in court that they planned to target "infidel collaborators of the Americans and Israelis in the Jordanian kingdom." Defendant Hussein Sharif reportedly told the court: "Our Sheikh Abu Musab Al Zarqawi said that if we had chemical weapons we would have hit Tel Aviv and the traitor collaborator (Jordanian) regime." Two other defendants named were Hassan Omar al-Samik and Anas Samir.
Istanbul Bombings: A Turkish cell of Al-Qa'ida claimed responsibility for the November 2003 bombings of two synagogues, a London-based bank and the British Consulate, in Istanbul that killed fifty-seven people. Seventy-one suspected Islamic militants are on trial for the bombings. In June 2005, prosecutors asked for life sentences for the four alleged ringleaders in custody-Fevzi Yitiz, Adnan Ersoz, Yusuf Polat and Harun Ilhan-all suspected members of a local Al-Qa'ida cell in Turkey. Yitiz is accused of helping make the bombs used in the attacks; Ersoz reportedly confessed to undergoing explosives training at Al-Qa'ida camps in Afghanistan and to arranging a meeting between another alleged ringleader, Habib Akdas, and senior Al-Qa'ida leader Abu Hafs al-Masri; Polat allegedly surveyed the site of one of the synagogues and gave the final go-ahead for the attack and Ilhan is a suspected top leader of Al-Qa'ida in Turkey. The prosecutor demanded shorter prison sentences for thirty-six other defendants and asked for the acquittal of the remaining thirty-one defendants. The trial is adjourned until August 25. In July 2005, Turkey asked Iraq to extradite two Turkish militants-Burhan Kus and Sadettin Aktas-suspected of involvement in the Istanbul bombings and reportedly being held in Abu Ghraib prison.
Australian Embassy Bombing/Jakarta: Three separate trials of Islamic militants suspected of involvement in the September 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta opened in May 2005 in Jakarta. Heri Sigu Samboja, 23, is accused of transporting explosive materials and making them into a bomb later used in the embassy blast that killed 10 people. Ahmad Hasan is accused of having helped build the bomb and having driven the explosive-Ladin van from a West Jakarta hideout to the South Jakarta area where the embassy is located. Iwan Darmawan Mutho, a.k.a. Rois, 29, is standing trial for allegedly working with fugitive Jemaah Islamiyah leaders Azahari Husin and Noordin Mohammad Top to plan the attack and is accused of recruiting one of his fellow militant friends, Heri Kurniawan, a.k.a. Heri Golun, to become the suicide bomber in the attack. Prosecutors said Rois was also a deputy commander of a militant group called the Islamic State of Indonesia (NII) and underwent training in a Muslim camp in the southern Philippines.
There were developments in July 2005 related to the trials of two other embassy bombing suspects. Prosecutors dropped their main terrorism charge against Irun Hidayet, 33, the first suspect brought to trial, saying there was not enough evidence to prove that he planned and executed acts of terrorism in the bombing. Instead, prosecutors asked that Hidayet receive a sentence of five years in jail "because he has been proven to have helped terror perpetrators in the bombing." The defendant allegedly drove suicide bomber Heri Kurniawan to Jakarta. On July 21, Hidayet was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for assisting the bombers. In the case of Agus Ahmad, 31, prosecutors dropped the charge of hiding a terror suspect and asked that Ahmad be jailed for five years for helping transport and hide explosive materials used in the blast. On July 26, Ahmad was found guilty of helping alleged bombing mastermind Azahari Husin prepare for the blast and was sentenced to four years in jail.
Sinai Resort Bombings/Egypt: The trial of three Egyptians suspected of involvement in the October 2004 Sinai resort bombings opened in Ismailiya in July 2005. Three almost simultaneous explosions occurred at the Taba Hilton and two nearby beach camping sites killing thirty-two people, including twelve Israeli tourists, and injuring 157. Mohammed Gaiez Al Sabah and Mohammed Rubaa Addallah appeared in court while the third suspect, Mohammed Ahmed Salah Felifel is still at-large and being tried in absentia. Six other suspects were implicated in the attacks; two died during the bombings and four suspects were killed in subsequent clashes with Egyptian security forces.
Ansar al-Islam/Germany: Iraqi Lokman Amin Mohammed, 31, is on trial in Munich, Germany, on charges of being a member of the Kurdish/Arab terrorist group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Ansar al-Islam. Mohammed is accused of being the mastermind of the group's Munich cell and a key part of its European network. He is accused of raising funds, organizing travel to Iraq for terrorist recruits and illegally channeling Iraqis into Germany. Mohammed was arrested in Munich in December 2003. He was the first suspect charged under a 2002 German law that made membership in a terrorist group on German soil a crime, even if the group is based abroad. In recent months, German authorities have arrested several Ansar al-Islam suspects.
Theo Van Gogh/The Netherlands: Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, went on trial in Amsterdam in July 2005 on charges of killing Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in November 2004. Bouyeri reportedly told the court: "I acted out of conviction and not out of hate. If I'm ever released, I'd do the same again." Bouyeri is also accused of playing a leading role in the radical Islamic group code-named the Hofstad Network, of which eleven suspected members are currently awaiting trail on terrorism charges. The Hofstad group is said to comprise second or third generation Dutch Muslim men in their late teens and early twenties. In May 2005, French police arrested Chechen Bislan Ismailov, 25, in connection with the murder of Van Gogh. Dutch prosecutors are seeking his extradition. On July 26, 2005, Mohammed Bouyeri was sentenced to life in prison for killing Van Gogh.
Abu Hamza al-Masri/London: Radical Egyptian-born Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri is on trial in London for allegedly inciting violence against non-Muslims. He faces fifteen counts, including nine of soliciting to murder, four counts of using threatening or abusive language designed to stir racial hatred, one count of possessing threatening or abusive recordings and one count of possessing a document likely to be useful in terrorism. The murder charges include those accusing him of encouraging the murder of non-Muslims and one charge specifically regarding his soliciting the murder of Jews. Hamza was arrested in May 2004 after U.S. authorities charged him with trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, involvement in hostage-taking in Yemen and funding terrorism training in Afghanistan. British prosecutors charged Al-Masri in October 2004, preempting an American bid to extradite him. U.S. authorities have indicated they plan to resume the extradition case once the cleric is convicted or cleared of the British charges.
Nur-Pashi Kulayev/Beslan School Attack: The trial of Chechen carpenter Nur-Pashi Kulayev, 24, the only surviving militant from the 2004 Russian school hostage crisis in Beslan, opened in southern Russia. About thirty militants took 1,500 parents and children hostage in a school in September 2004; about 330 pupils and adults died in explosions and gun battles between the attackers and Russian security forces.
February 2005 - July 2005