MADRID “” A man accused of helping plot the 9/11 attacks on the United States told a Spanish court he did not support Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and had never met him.
The Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, also known as Abu Dahdah, admitted he did back Islamic holy war as a “self-defence concept”.
He is accused of organising a meeting where plans for the 2001 attacks in the US were finalised, and of running an Al-Qaeda recruitment unit in Spain since 1995.
“I am not a supporter of Bin Laden’s doctrines, and I have never met him,” he told the court in Madrid on the third day of a major trial involving 23 other defendants.
“But I acknowledge that I fully support, morally and emotionally, Muslim peoples who defend themselves against their aggressors,” he added, quoting conflicts in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Russian republic of Chechnya.
When pressed by the chief magistrate to explain what he meant by “jihad,” or holy war, Yarkas replied: “It means defending oneself. Self-defence.”
The 41-year-old has denied all links with the plotters behind the 9/11 attacks. His cross-examination began on Monday.
If found guilty, Yarkas faces the prospect of a prison sentence totalling more than 60,000 years “” 25 years for each of the 3,000 lives lost…