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Court sentences terror suspect to life in prison

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-28

An anti-terrorism court in Morocco has sentenced Moroccan-born Belgian national Abdelkader Belliraj to life in prison for leading a terrorist group, committing six murders in Belgium, theft, arms smuggling and threatening state security.

AFP - An anti-terrorism court in Morocco on Tuesday handed a life sentence to Moroccan-born Belgian national Abdelkader Belliraj, accused of leading a 35-member extremist group.

Belliraj was accused at the court in Sale of leading a terrorist group, committing six murders in Belgium in the late 1980s and early 1990s, of committing theft, smuggling arms into Morocco and threatening state security.

The 50-year-old denied the charges, saying several times during the trial: "I never brought weapons into Morocco and deny making any attempts to overthrow the regime."

He also denied involvement in supplying arms to an Algerian group, the Islamic Salvation Front.

The state prosecutor had initially sought the death sentence for Belliraj.

He and several others were arrested in Morocco in January and February 2008 and the trial began the following October.

Date created : 2009-07-28