“The eight are suspected of receiving funding from part of the Saudi branch of Al-Qaeda to carry out attacks aimed at destabilising Mauritania.”
“Up to 10 years jail requested for Islamists on trial in Mauritania,” from Agence France-Presse:
NOUAKCHOTT (AFP) – A Mauritanian prosecutor on Monday requested up to 10 years behind bars for 25 Islamists on trial accused of links to a terrorist organisation.
A week after the trial began in Nouakchott, prosecutor Ahmed Ould Abdellahi
requested prison sentences of between five and 10 years along with forced labour for eight
of the defendants in order to “ensure State security”.
The eight are suspected of receiving funding from part of the Saudi branch of
Al-Qaeda to carry out attacks aimed at destabilising Mauritania.
Abdellahi also requested prison terms of up to 10 years with the possibility of
forced labour for 11 other defendants who, he claimed, were associated with “the criminals”.
This group stands accused of participating in training in 2004 by the Salafist
Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), now known as Al-Qaeda’s branch in northern Africa,
with the aim of going to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The prosecutor thus changed the initial indictment against the men, who were
brought to trial accused of “belonging to a non-authorised organisation” and committing
“acts not authorised by the government.”
All the charges against the defendants, most of whom were arrested in 2005,
fall under Mauritania’s anti-terror law.
Four out of the 11 accused of participating in GSPC training have been present
at the trial, three are being tried in absentia for escaping from prison in 2006 and four
others, who were never arrested, are also being tried in their absence.
The court’s announcement Monday that the four latter were also on trial pushed
the number of defendants from 21 to 25.
The prosecutor on Monday also called for five defendants, all of them clerics,
to be acquitted “due to lacking evidence.”
The verdict is expected at the end of the week, according to the