Terror trials

In the Netherlands one terror trial ended with a jail sentence of 8 years for Samir Azzouz, and in Denmark a terror trial is just starting.

First, the Netherlands:

A court in Amsterdam sentenced Samir A. and three other Islamic militants to prison on Friday for planning terror attacks on politicians and the intelligence service AIVD.

Samir A., 20, was jailed for eight years and three others — Nourrdin El F., Mohammed C. en Soumaya S. — received terms of between three and four years.

Some of suspects were alleged to have links to the Hofstad group, whose leader was convicted of killing filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

Two other defendants were acquitted of terror charges.

The presiding judge at the heavily-secured Amsterdam-Osdorp court said A. had been striving to carry out his terrorist aims for several years.

The Dutch-Moroccan A. was said to be the ringleader of the suspects.

Although he had been placed on trial several times previously, this is the first time that A. has been convicted.

The public prosecution had demanded a 15-year jail term against him.

The court ruled that evidence presented in the case suggested A. was planning an "imminent terror attack".

The evidence included a suicide video, automatic weapons and manuals explaining how to turn mobile phones into detonators.

And in Denmark:

The government's anti-terror laws face a major test in the trial of four young men accused of plotting a terror action

The long-awaited trial of four young men accused of a terror plot begins Wednesday in the Eastern High Court.

Police arrested the four men, aged 18 to 21, in October 2005, based on a tip from Bosnian police that the suspects had connections with two men they had apprehended. While all four suspects were born in Denmark and speak fluent Danish, they have been linked to fundamentalist Islamic groups abroad.

Prosecutors hope to convince the court that the men were in the midst of planning a major terrorist plot somewhere in Europe when they were apprehended in the western Copenhagen suburb of Glostrup.

They note the four men all had contact with the two suspects involved in the Bosnian case, one a Turkish Dane called 'AC' in police reports, and a Bosnian Swede called 'Maximus'.

Bosnian police arrested AC and Maximus in a Sarajevo apartment with 20 kg of explosives, a belt which could be used for a suicide bombing and a video with masked men discussing a terror plot against countries with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prosecutors could have a difficult time convincing the court of the suspects' guilt, however, said Jørn Vestergaard, a docent in criminal law at the University of Copenhagen.

'The crucial point will be how the court interprets information about what the accused have done, and a ticking bomb is lacking here,' Vestergaard told daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende. 'To lift the burden of proof, the individual and divergent elements must be connected to form a sufficiently solid case.'

If convicted, the four suspects could face a life sentence.

Source: Expatica (English), Copenhagen Post (English)

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