Morocco: 12 convicted for terror-related charges

Twelve Islamic militants were convicted of terrorism-related charges, including eight with alleged ties to al-Qaida who had volunteered to fight in Iraq, Morocco's official news agency reported. The appeals court in Sale, outside the capital, Rabat, on Friday handed down prison terms of two to 15 years in the separate cases, with the stiffest, 15-year sentence for a Tunisian, Mohamed Ben El Hadi Messahel, the MAP agency reported. Messahel, a 37-year-old former restaurant worker in Milan, Italy, was the main defendant, and had allegedly made contact with seven other defendants in Sale and the city of Casablanca after entering Morocco in January last year, according to a police report, MAP said. The seven others, all Moroccan, were convicted on charges of "organizing a criminal group preparing and committing terror acts" and lesser counts, and received prison sentences of two to 10 years. One defendant was acquitted.