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Cablegate: Al Qaeda Accomplice Awaiting Trial in Schleswig, Germany

VZCZCXRO6451
RR RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAG #0052/01 1900933
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090933Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL HAMBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0167
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0153
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/AMEMBASSY DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHAG/AMCONSUL HAMBURG 0186

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HAMBURG 000052

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS, EUR/PPD, L/LEI, AND S/CT.
JUSTICE FOR BARBARA BERMAN AND PATRICIA REEDY.
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER KJUS PREL ASEC KVPR GM
SUBJECT: AL QAEDA ACCOMPLICE AWAITING TRIAL IN SCHLESWIG, GERMANY

HAMBURG 00000052 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) SUMMARY: After German Police arrested Redouane El-Habhab
July 6, 2006 at the Hamburg Dammtor train station, the Federal
Prosecutor charged him April 25, 2007 with nine counts of
supporting the foreign terrorist organizations Al-Qaeda and
Al-Qaeda in Iraq as well as four counts of acting against the
German Foreign Trade Law between August 2005 and July 2006.
Prosecutors also charged him with founding a terrorist
organization abroad. Schleswig-Holstein's Higher Appellate
Court in Schleswig has announced that the trial is scheduled to
begin July 18, however the court's spokesperson has informed
post that due to elevated security arrangements hearings are not
expected to begin until July 25. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Redouane El-Habhab (37) is a dual German and Moroccan
national. Between 1996 and 2004 he was a student at Kiel's
Christian Albrechts University. Prosecutors suspect him of
attending an explosives-making camp in Algeria in November 2005.
In 2006 he opened an internet cafe and call center on Iltis
Street in Kiel's Garden District. Federal police arrested him
July 6, 2006 at the Hamburg Dammtor train station on a warrant
issued by the Federal Prosecutor's Office based on incriminating
online chat room activity German authorities had observed which
suggested that El-Habhab was relaying news between fugitive 9/11
planner Said Bahaji and his now former wife, who was then still
living in Hamburg. Law enforcement officials concluded Bahaji
would only give this important task to a trusted Al-Qaeda member
and therefore El-Habhab must be a member of the terrorist
organization. He is not accused of planning or preparing
attacks within Germany. Initial news reports suggested that
El-Habhab may have had connections to the August 2006 "suitcase
bomber" Youssuf Al Haijib, who was also a Kiel resident. Later,
however, police concluded there was no clear link between the
two.

3. (SBU) The Federal Prosecutor's Office has accused El-Habhab
of nine independent acts of supporting the foreign terrorist
organizations Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda in Iraq as well as four
counts of acting against the Foreign Trade Law between August
2005 and July 2006. Prosecutors also charged him with founding
a terrorist organization abroad.

Four Counts Against the Foreign Trade Law
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (SBU) The Prosecutor's Office asserts El-Habhab transferred
money (5000 Euro total) on four occasions to Egypt and Syria for
equipping "God's Fighters," financing the participation in an
explosives training course, and paying off a smuggler. These
four charges are also part of the nine counts of supporting the
terrorist activities of terrorist organization. Furthermore,
they broke the UN Security Council and EU embargos.

Five Additional Counts of Supporting a Terrorist Organization
--------------------------------------------- --------------
----------------

5. (SBU) The Prosecutor's Office asserts that in August 2005
El-Habhab pledged an oath of loyalty to Mullah Omar over the
internet in which El-Habhab declared that he was ready to
provide fighters and financial resources to the "community."
According to the Prosecutor's Office, Osama bin Laden empowered
Mullah Omar to accept such oaths. El-Habhab is accused of
supporting Al-Qaeda in Iraq in four more counts by arranging for
Jihad Fighters from Morocco and Egypt from May through July
2006. the prosecutor states that he provided financial
resources for transfers, provided logistical support through
smuggling, and offered financial help, .

One Count of Co- Founding a Terrorist Organization Abroad
--------------------------------------------- --------------
---------------

6. (SBU) The Federal Prosecutor's Office has also accused
El-Habhab of co-founding a terrorist organization abroad with
four other people in June and July of 2006. The Prosecutor's
Office states that the organization's goal was to build a front
against the "Crusaders" in Sudan and to answer Osama bin Laden's
call for holy war by committing serious criminal acts. The
founding members intended to divide their work, with El-Habhab
given the responsibility to procure information, clarify
technical options, and recruit trainers and others. The
Prosecutor also accuses El-Habhab of being involved in financing
the group. (Note: One additional founding member and a
supporter of the organization were recently extradited from
Sweden to stand trial in Germany. Thaer Alhalah, a Jordanian
national, and Moroccan Abdelali Miftah were extradited on April
4 and May 15, respectively. The Federal Prosecutor's Office

HAMBURG 00000052 002.2 OF 002


issued their arrest warrants based on evidence found during
police observation of El-Habhab's internet chat sessions;
however their investigations are independent of the El-Habhab
case. The prosecutor accuses Alhalah of co-founding the
organization and Miftah is accused of assisting in its
foundation. End Note.)

7. (SBU) COMMENT: Post expects the case to draw wide-spread
public attention and, as has been seen at similar trials in
Germany, that the court will undertake significant security
measures. Security concerns have already caused the court to
delay the beginning of the trial until July 25. END COMMENT.
BUTCHER

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