/ 31 July 2009

Terror suspect jailed in Morocco appeals sentence

A Moroccan-born Belgian national suspected of running an extremist group has appealed a life sentence handed down by Morocco’s anti-terrorism court, a court official said on Friday.

Abdelkader Belliraj was jailed for life on Tuesday after being accused of leading the 35-member group.

He was further suspected of six murders in Belgium in the late 1980s and early 1990s, of committing theft, smuggling arms into Morocco and threatening state security.

The 50 year old denied the charges during the trial at the court in Sale, close to the capital Rabat.

The state prosecutor, who had sought the death penalty for Belliraj, has also appealed the sentence.

Belliraj and several others were arrested in Morocco in January and February 2008 and the trial began the following October.

Six others jailed alongside Belliraj on Tuesday appealed their sentences.

Thirty-four terrorism suspects were jailed alongside the Belgian national on Tuesday and were handed punishments ranging from a one-year suspended sentence to 30 years behind bars. — Sapa-AFP