Trial for al-Qaeda suspects

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

The main suspect is Imad Yarkas, a 42-year-old father of six who, under the guise of a used-car salesman, is alleged to have overseen a cell that provided logistical cover for September 11 plotters such as Mohamed Atta, who is believed to have piloted one of the jets that struck the World Trade Centre.

The trial is the culmination of a lengthy inquiry by Baltasar Garzon, Spain’s top anti-terrorism magistrate, who began investigating Muslim militants in Spain in the mid-1990s. He started arresting September 11 suspects just two months after hijacked jets struck the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

The lead defendant is Imad Yarkas, 42, a Syrian-born Spaniard with a wife and six children. Under the guise of being a small-time used car salesman, Yarkas is alleged to have overseen an al-Qaida cell that provided logistical cover for the September 11 plotters.

Two other suspects also are accused of helping plan the attack. They are Moroccan Driss Chebli, 33, who allegedly helped Yarkas arrange a meeting in Spain in July 2001 attended by Atta and September 11 coordinator Ramzi bin al-Shibh; and Syrian-born Ghasoub al-Abrash Ghalyoun, 39, who shot detailed video of the World Trade Center and other landmarks in 1997.

The videotapes were eventually passed on to “operative members of al-Qaeda and would become the preliminary information on the attacks against the twin towers,” Garzon wrote in a September 2003 indictment against the three men and 32 other suspects.

Garzon has said his investigation showed Muslim militants leading discreet lives. He said they operated freely in Spain for years, allegedly recruiting men for terrorist training in Afghanistan, preaching holy war and laundering money for al-Qaeda operations.

Those standing trial are all in Spanish custody. The rest of the 41 men indicted are either fugitives or in custody in other countries.

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