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Cablegate: 19 Convicted of Support for "Soliman" Terrorists,

VZCZCXRO0840
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTU #0381 1081504
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171504Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4790
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TUNIS 000381

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG (HARRIS AND HOPKINS), DRL (KLARMAN) AND
INR (SWEET)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PHUM PGOV TS
SUBJECT: 19 CONVICTED OF SUPPORT FOR "SOLIMAN" TERRORISTS,
WHO REPORT MISTREATMENT

REF: TUNIS 168 (AND PREVIOUS)

1. (SBU) On April 11, the Tunis Court of First Instance
convicted 18 individuals of being members of a terrorist cell
from the central Tunisian town of Sidi Bou Zid, which
allegedly supported those involved in the December
2006/January 2007 terrorist incidents (reftel). The
defendants, who are mostly in their twenties, received
sentences from one to eight years, in addition to five years
administrative control after their release (names, DOBs and
sentences below), under Tunisia's 2003 terrorism law.
Defense lawyer Samir Ben Amor told PolOff on April 16 that
many of the defendants knew those involved in the Soliman
incidents, several of whom were also residents of Sidi Bou
Zid. While suspects in both cases were arrested between
December 2006 and January 2007, the Sidi Bou Zid cell
defendants were not part of the group physically involved
with the Soliman incidents.

2. (SBU) Ben Amor said among the charges were possession of
weapons (which he characterized as agricultural instruments)
and offering of moral support to the Soliman group. He added
that Boukhari was allegedly a "Salafi sheikh" who had issued
a fatwa in support of the Soliman terrorist plot, but that he
was only found guilty of failing to inform the police of
others' terrorist activities. All of the defendants denied
their involvement and said they had been tortured by security
forces after their arrest. Ben Amor, who represents five of
the defendants, has already filed appeals to the verdicts.
Human rights groups report that hundreds of other Tunisians
arrested since 2006 face terrorism-related charges, and the
GOT continues to bring small groups of individuals to trial.

3. (SBU) Separately, the International Association for the
Support of Political Prisoners (AISPP) reported that three of
those convicted of involvement in the original Soliman case
are being held in solitary confinement (Saber Rakoubi, Imad
Ben Amer, and Ali Arfaoui) at Mornaguia prison. The AISPP
also said that the families of others convicted in this case
are concerned about the physical and mental well-being of
their relatives (Jamaleddine Mellakh and Imad Ben Amer) who
are imprisoned at Mornaguia or Borj El Amri prisons. Mellakh
is reportedly prevented from having any contact with the
outside world, including access to newspapers and receiving
family visits, by Borj El Amri prison officials.

4. (U) The following individuals were convicted of terrorism
related charges (name, DOB, sentence):

Abdeljelil Aliaoui, 6/27/84, eight years
Hafedh Samoudi, 5/17/83, eight years
Sami Kdiri, 3/2/76, eight years
Mokhtar Akkouri, 10/23/85, eight years
Nejmeddine Bargougui, 3/6/79, eight years
Ali Omri, 2/9/83, eight years
Ramzi Brini, 1/30/85, six years
Ghassen Siliane, 7/17/87, six years
Mohammed Ali Horchani, 5/4/71, six years
Ali Lafi, 6/3/77, four years
Habib Hafsi, 1/12/84, four years
Ramzi Romdhani, 4/18/77, four years
Khatib Boukhari, 8/30/55, three years
Laid Jaouadi, 11/14/75, one year
Hassib Chebbi, 6/6/84, one year
Gammoudi Hmed, 8/16/81, one year
Mourad Saadi, 7/15/86, one year
Abdessalam Bali, 6/9/84, one year

Please visit Embassy Tunis' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/tunis/index.c fm
GODEC

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