Skip to comments.Turkey demands life term for al-Qaeda suspect
Posted on 02/11/2006 8:25:50 AM PST by knighthawk
ANKARA, TURKEY: Prosecutors allege Osama bin Laden personally ordered a suspected al-Qaeda operative - charged with masterminding Istanbul suicide bombings and providing some USD 170,000 to Turkish militants - to carry out terrorist attacks in this pro-Western country.
The prosecutor's office on Friday indicted Syrian national Loa'i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa, accused of serving as a point man between the terrorist group and homegrown militants who killed 58 people in a series of suicide bombings in Istanbul in 2003.
Al-Saqa, 32, had cosmetic surgery according to a medical report and flew beneath the radar for many years by using an array of fake IDs and employing aliases even with his al-Qaeda contacts, according to the indictment issued after a six-month investigation. Several accused Turkish al-Qaida suspects recognized al-Saqa's photos but identified him with different names, most calling him "Syrian Aladdin."
In the indictment, al-Saqa was charged with "attempting to overthrow the constitutional (secular) regime." The prosecutor's office demanded life in prison for al-Saqa and identified him as "a high-level al-Qaeda official with special mission." However, the indictment did not say when or where al-Saqa met with bin Laden.
Al-Saqa already has been sentenced in absentia by Jordan. He was captured in Turkey in August after an alleged failed plot to attack Israeli cruise ships in the Mediterranean.
Life in a Turkish prison. Not exactly where I'd want to spend my time. Visions of "Midnight Express" running through my head.
He'll be in for as long as it takes to tunnel him out via the nearest mosque.