13 April, 2012
GLOSTRUP. In his black Adidas jacket and short haircut Sahbi Zalouti looks more like a member of an MC-clib than an Islamic terrorist. He does not deny that he and the others sat in his home and discussed terror plans against “that newspaper with Muhammad-drawings.”
Leaned over the microphone he says: ”It was just talk. Nothing would have happened in reality.”
Zalouti was the only one out of the four suspects who was cross-examined in the court’s first day in Glostrup outside Copenhagen. He argued for his innocence as being the one who was dragged into something he knew nothing about. He was just an interlocutor. Not a participant.
“For me there was no talk of doing anything in reality. The whole thing was just idealistic talk. When I heard that my friends have been arrested with weapons I froze like a statue. I am a Muslim. Yes, I am religious. Yes. Am I a terrorist? No. I would never go a shoot people.”
Zalouti smiles interchangeably and comments angrily at the interrogator. At moments he strokes apologetically over the interpreters back with his left hand. It is difficult to discern if this is a spontaneous gesture or if this is something he does to appear as soft-minded and friendly.
The weapon was found in a rented car.
He admits without any hesistation that he had a weapon in his apartment in Frihetsvägen i Järfälla [Stockholm]. He points to another defendant Mounir Dhahri as the one who tookmthe weapon to his apartment. “I said I did not want weapons at my place.” Dhahri sits about ten meters away and gazes over on his former friend. His jaws are clenched.
The prosecutor displays an automatic rifle with a silencer for the court and the journalists in the courtroom. I do not want to claim that there was a breeze blowing though the room, but it was striking. Zalouti acknowledges that this is the same gun that he had in his apartment. “Dhahiri said that the weapon was not functional.”
The prosecutor claims that with this weapon and a handgun that the three defendents planed to storm the Jyllands-Posten’s editorial in central Copenhagen and kill as many people as possible. This would have been a revenge for caricatures which were published in 2005.
The weapon was found in a rented car which was used by the men who drove it to Copenhagen on the night of December 29, 2010. What they did not know is that the police had recorded every meter of their trip from Stockholm. The prosecutor shows survailance images of the car passing the Öresund Bridge at 02.02h. An hour later they had arrived to an apartment at Mörkhöjvej 92 in the Copenhagen suburb Herslev.
They were observed by the police even here. The prosecutor displays another surveillance video from the apartment there the men prepared to go to bed. While they sleep, the police search their car and finds, besides the weapons, ammunition and two plastic bags filled with cable ties. The bags have the fingerprints from the defendants. Cable ties can be used to tie people up.
The prosecutor displays a bag of cable ties in the courtroom. On the court’s big screen we can see a receipt from a Bauhaus store in Järfälla and a surveillance image of what appears to be one of the defendants buying cable ties couple of hours before departing to Copenhagen.
The score of evidences is demonstrated after searches made in the apartment in Herslev. In a jacket they found 20 000 dollars. In another jacket, a map and ammunition rounds. 36 rounds in total. The evidences supporting the charge that the men planned to carry out an attack is convincing. The proceedings take place in room 404 on the top floor of the Glostrup district court. Outside there is a helicopter hovering the building. Many policemen gurd the front and back entrances. There is a metal detector at the door of the courtroom. I’m thoroughly searched before entering the room. This is far more thorough search than at the airport.
The prosecutor plays a sound file from an mp3player which was seized during the arrests. An Arabic speaking voice proclaims something with songs in the background. On the screen in front the translation rolls: “The have declared war and enmity against us. What are we waiting for?” The voice intones. ”With the sword do we follow the enemies and strike them down.”
Wolfgang Hansson (A US- and Foreign Correspondent for Aftonbladet)