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Cablegate: Appeals Heard in Gicm and Dhkp-C Terror Trials

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBS #3164 2621345
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191345Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3121
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 0448
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 2312

UNCLAS BRUSSELS 003164

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: BE MO PREL PTER TU
SUBJECT: APPEALS HEARD IN GICM AND DHKP-C TERROR TRIALS

REF: A. BRUSSELS 555

B. BRUSSELS 692

1. (U) Five members of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group
(GICM), who appealed February 2006 convictions under
Belgium's antiterrorism law, have received sentences ranging
from forty months to eight years. The February 2006 verdict
by a Brussels criminal court found the GICM members guilty of
belonging to a terrorist group linked to attacks in Madrid
and Casablanca and providing logistical and financial support
to the group. The original trial of the five appellants was
the first under Belgium's 2003 antiterrorism law. The
legislation provides a maximum of five years for belonging to
a terrorist organization and a maximum of ten years for
actively abetting terrorists.

2. (U) In another appeals case, the federal prosecutor
urged the court to impose stiffer sentences for members of
the Turkish group DHKP-C, who, last February, also were
convicted under the 2003 antiterrorism law for membership in
a terror organization and for providing material support to a
terrorist group. Both sides are presenting final arguments
in this case, with the verdict expected soon. (Fehriye
Erdal, the most celebrated defendant, escaped from Belgian
custody around the time the original verdict was announced.)

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3. (SBU) Comment: Belgian authorities cite the 2003
antiterrorism law as an effective means to move against
suspected terrorists before they can act and to go after
supporters of terrorism. In upholding the convictions of the
five GICM appellants under the law, Belgian federal
authorities believe a positive signal is being sent in
support of tougher antiterrorism monitoring and enforcement
efforts. Federal authorities have told us they want to
assess the ruling of the appeals courts to gauge what they
will be able to further prosecute successfully under the 2003
legislation.

KOROLOGOS
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