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Cablegate: Last Al Qaeda Member From El-Habhab Cell Convicted

VZCZCXRO9706
RR RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAG #0044 3401546
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051546Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL HAMBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0256
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0229
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0003
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0006
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0003
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0006
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 0003
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHAG/AMCONSUL HAMBURG 0285

UNCLAS HAMBURG 000044

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE, EUR/PPD, L/LEI, AND S/CT
JUSTICE FOR BARBARA BERMAN AND PATRICIA REEDY
DHS FOR MARK KOUMANS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER KJUS KVPR KHLS PREL ASEC GM
SUBJECT: LAST AL QAEDA MEMBER FROM EL-HABHAB CELL CONVICTED

REF: A. A) HAMBURG 000008
B. B) HAMBURG 000002
C. C) DUSSELDORF 002
D. D) 07 HAMBURG 0052
E. E) 07 DUSSELDORF 0037
F. F) 07 BERLIN 1398

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On September 24, the Higher Regional Court
(OLG) in Schleswig found Moroccan national Abdelali Miftah
guilty of supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq through the recruitment
and trafficking of three Islamist fighters during the period
between the beginning of June 2006 and July 6, 2006. He was
also found guilty of aiding and abetting the foundation of a
foreign terrorist organization in Sudan. The court sentenced
him to four years in prison. Miftah was the last accomplice of
the terrorist cell surrounding Redouane El-Habhab to be
convicted by this court (Refs. A and B). Miftah has appealed
the verdict before the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH). The
defense has until year's end to prepare the written reasons for
its appeal. Germany currently has no plans to deport Miftah to
Morocco. END SUMMARY.

----------------------------
Background and Arrest
----------------------------

2. (SBU) Miftah was born on September 29, 1982 in
Tetouan/Morocco. He has six siblings. His parents live in
Belgium as Belgian citizens. He was arrested in Sweden on March
3, 2007. Based on a March 26, 2007 European arrest warrant he
was transferred to an extradition detention facility and
extradited to Germany on May 15, 2007. The Schleswig OLG
established jurisdiction for the case by showing that the
crimes, in particular those committed by El-Habhab, with whom
Miftah was cooperating, were committed in Germany in the period
between the beginning of June 2006 and July 6, 2006.

--------------------------------------------- ------
No Small Fish, But Not Prominent Either
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (SBU) Miftah was convicted of supporting Al Qaeda in Iraq by
recruiting and trafficking three Islamist fighters. The court
found him guilty of assisting the foundation of a Sudanese
terrorist organization because he pledged financial support and
acquired additional money. As opposed to Thaer Alhalah, whom
the chief judge dubbed the "finance minister" of the cell around
El-Habhab (Ref. B), Miftah was not singled out for having
performed a particularly crucial role within the organization.
The OLG based its decisions on three factors: (1) credible
testimony, particularly by Swedish Security Police
interrogators; (2) Miftah's admitted on-line identity as
"salimmohammad;" and (3) digital subscriber line (dsl)
protocols. Miftah's denial of the charges throughout the
proceedings contributed to a lengthier penalty. However, the
judge considered Miftah's lack of a prior criminal record
favorably.

4. (U) This message has been coordinated with Embassy Berlin.

JOHNSON

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