belgium terror suspect Malika El Aroud 311.
(photo credit: AP)
BRUSSELS — Nine people went on trial Monday on terrorism
charges, including a 50-year-old woman accused of using an incendiary
Islamic Web site to recruit jihadists for suicide bombing missions.
nine were arrested in December 2008, after police intercepted an e-mail
from one suspect they said suggested a suicide attack was imminent.
Prosecutors have not said where the attack was to occur.
The key suspect is Malika El Aroud, 50.
Belgian national, she is charged with heading a terrorist group linked
to al-Qaida and running a Web site that glorified suicide bombings and
urged young Muslims to sacrifice themselves in the jihad, or holy war.
El Aroud denies heading a terror cell.
was convicted in June 2007, in Switzerland for running a Web site
propagating hardline Islamic ideals. She got a six-month suspended
sentence and returned to Belgium, where she continued her Web site that
was later shut down.
The trial opened amid extreme security measures at Brussels' central courthouse.
December 21, 2008, Brussels police raided houses across the city, detaining
14 people on suspicion they had associated with Moez Garsalloui, 41, El
Aroud's Tunisian husband, who is now believed to be in Pakistan or
Afghanistan. He is on trial in absentia.
Among those on trial are
Belgian Hicham Beyayo, 25, and several others with whom he allegedly
spent time in Taliban training camps in Afghanistan in recent years.
said Beyayo returned to Brussels on December 4, 2008, and allege that four
days later he sent an e-mail saying he has been ordered to carry out a
His lawyer, Christophe Marchand, said his client invented that story to win back a former girlfriend.
El Aroud, the trial marks the second time she has appeared before
Belgian judge. In 2003, she was on trial with 10 others in Brussels in
connection with the murder in Afghanistan of anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad
Shah Massoud, who was killed in an al-Qaida suicide bombing two days
before the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington.
El Aroud's first husband, Abdessatar Dahmane, died in that attack. She was acquitted.
others on trial are Ali El Ghanouti, Yussuf Said Arissi, Hicham
Bouhali, Jean Trefois, Abdullazziz Bastin and Mohammed Bastin. They are