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Three sentenced in major terrorism trial in Belgium

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Three sentenced in major terrorism trial in Belgium


A court in Brussels has sentenced three Morrocans to a total of 20 years in jail for their involvement in the Madrid and Casablanca bombings. They were accused of belonging to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, the GICM, a terrorist organisation believed to have links to Al Qaeda and suspected of orchestrating the two attacks. The trial was one of Europe’s biggest anti-terrorism cases since the September 11 attacks on the United States, and was widely seen as a test of Belgium’s new anti-terrorism laws.

The prosecution had asked for a 10-year jail term for the suspected leader Abdelkader Hakimi – the highest possible sentence under the new legislation. He and co-accused Lahoussine el Haski were jailed for seven years each. A third GICM leader, Mustafa Lounani, received a six year jail sentence. A hundred and ninety one people were killed in the Madrid bombings, when four explosions went off inside commuter trains during the morning rush hour on March 11, 2004. The men are also accused of organising the Casablanca bombings in May, 2003, in which 33 people died.
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