Skip to comments.Spanish Police Make More al-Qaida Arrests
Posted on 09/18/2003 5:25:01 AM PDT by kattracks
The Associated Press
MADRID, Spain Sept. 18 Police have arrested several suspects on orders of a Spanish judge who is investigating al-Qaida links, the government said Thursday, a day after he issued the first known indictment against Osama bin Laden in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Interior Ministry said the arrests were made in the southern region of Andalusia and elsewhere in Spain, but it gave no details.
News agencies and the Web site of the El Pais newspaper said three men were detained and that they are linked to Tayssir Alouni, a journalist for the Arabic-language TV station al-Jazeera who is under arrest in Spain. Alouni was one of those indicted Wednesday for alleged membership in al-Qaida. Spanish national radio put the number of detainees at five.
It was not immediately clear if the new detainees were among the 35 suspects included in Judge Baltasar Garzon's indictment on Wednesday.
Ten of the 35 were charged with direct participation in the planning for Sept. 11, including bin Laden. Three were in Spain, two of them jailed as of Wednesday. Garzon issued international arrest warrants for 13 other suspects.
Sixteen other suspects facing charges including membership in al-Qaida, tax fraud and weapons possession were also in Spain, most of them in jail.
U.S. Justice Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday, said the U.S. government did not play a direct role in the Spanish indictment. But the officials did say that the United States and its European allies have been sharing information on al-Qaida and the investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks. Some of that may have been used to build the case in Spain.
There are no indications that U.S. prosecutors will seek an indictment of bin Laden in the Sept. 11 attacks any time soon. However, he has been indicted in the United States for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The only person charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen who admits allegiance to al-Qaida but denies being part of the hijacking plot. His trial is on hold while the courts determine whether he should have access to captured al-Qaida operatives he says will support his innocence.
Garzon's indictment levels terrorism charges against bin Laden and 34 others in a decision that traces the birth and history of the al-Qaida terror network and planning for the suicide airliner bombings that killed more than 3,000 people in 2001.
Reed Brody, an international justice expert with Human Rights Watch in New York, said Garzon indeed has the right to indict bin Laden.
"The crimes of bin Laden are the kind that any country is allowed to prosecute. No one has a monopoly on the right to bring bin Laden to justice," Brody said.
No trial date was set for those in Spain. Under this country's law, the judge's indictment means he has enough evidence for a trial. But there is no deadline and he can continue to investigate for months or longer.
Garzon wrote that Spain served "as a place or base for resting, preparation, indoctrinating, support and financing" al-Qaida.
The indictment charged bin Laden and nine others with "as many crimes of terrorist murder ... as there were dead and injured" in the deadly Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Garzon said terrorism is one of the crimes included in Spain's universal justice legislation, under which some offenses, such as crimes against humanity, can be tried here even if they were committed elsewhere.
Garzon, who is known for taking on high-profile cases and has been accused of being hungry for publicity, has used this law to try to prosecute abuses under military rule in Chile and Argentina.
On Thursday, Spanish papers said Garzon lived up to his reputation for "dramatic effect," as the daily El Pais put it, by going after more than twice as many suspects as prosecutors had requested including bin Laden, the world's most wanted fugitive.
There was still no official government reaction to Wednesday's indictment. Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was on an official visit to Libya Wednesday and Thursday.
6) El 23-02-1993 una bomba explosiona en el Centro de Comercio Mundial, matando a seis personas e hiriendo a más de mil. El autor de la explosión, el convicto Ramzi Yousef, había vivido en una "casa de huéspedes" en Peshawar, Pakistán, tanto antes como después de la explosión.