A man suspected of participation in an international organization which funded terror cells in Algeria has been arrested in Pamplona. The suspect arrested in Spain was wanted by Italy for forgery of identity documents, and he is now being held on remand ahead of the extradition process to remove him to Italy. The Interior Ministry said the network obtained an estimated 1 million € through robberies over the past three years.
The former director of the Netherlands Muslim Broadcaster (NMO), Frank Williams, has been arrested for accepting bribes of at least 600.000 Euros. His son, daughter-in-law, and a film producer have also been arrested. The four suspects were arrested in a criminal investigation of misuse of the broadcasting funds of the NMO, one of the public broadcasters subsidized by the government, NIS reports. The finance ministry announced that Williams is suspected of “forgery, defrauding the income tax service and taking bribes as director of the NMO”.
Police in northern Spain have arrested 13 suspected Islamic militants linked to Al-Qaeda’s branch in North Africa. Searches have been conducted in the homes of the arrested, as part of the night operation launched in the Basque city of Bilbao. “The 13 formed a group dedicated to robbery and drug trafficking. “The police are investigating if the suspects diverted funds they obtained from criminal activities to finance Islamic terrorism in Algeria,” said a statement released by Spain’s interior Ministry. Receipts of money transfers, stolen passport, stolen gold and solver, computers, mobile phones, and knives were among the seized evidence. Police said that the operation was “linked to Al-Qaeda,” but gave no further operation – the investigation is ongoing. According to reports, those held are primarily of Algerian and Moroccan background.
The significance of this turn of events and article points to the deeply intertwined motivations of suspected terror linkages, and state investigations. Spain, in recent years, has been known to make sweeps of arrests with a primary charge (forgery, robbery, for example), with an addendum of possible connection to terror activity; and frequently, later altering accusations of suspects. As such, this investigation provides an important look into not only the transnationalism of possible terror activity, but poses questions about Spanish security investigations, and their level of veracity.
After having been taken away in January, the Belgium Executive is once again receiving subsidies. A Royal Order in the Belgian Official Journal granted 150,000 Euro to the Muslim Executive; the money was taken from the federal budget for religions. Minister of Justice Jo Vandeurzen, who is responsible for the administration of religions, postponed the subsidies after charges of forgery and abuse of public property were made against the Muslim Executive and the former president of the body. A new team was formed in May.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy would violate its obligations under the European Convention of Human rights if it deports Nassim Saadi, a Tunisian terror suspect from Italy, citing the very real risk of torture if he were to return to his home country. Human rights group Amnesty International applauded the ruling, as a landmark ruling on the absolute prohibition of torture, inhuman, and otherwise degrading treatment. Italian authorities sought to deport Saadi to Tunisia under the Pisanu Law which was urgently adopted to combat terrorism. Italian authorities argued that Saadi posed a security risk to the country. In 2005, Nassim was among five Tunisians acquitted by Italian courts of charges of helping to plan terrorist attacks and recruiting militants; however, he was found guilty of forgery and criminal conspiracy, and sentenced to 4.5 years in jail. Italy has unsuccessfully tried to report Saadi since 2006. In reference to reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which both describe the indignity of Tunisian jails, the court said Saadi would face ill-treatment if he were to be sent back. Concerning the prospect that Saadi might pose a threat to the community, the court stated that this did not diminish in any way the risk that he might suffer harm if deported.
Thirty suspects of the operation Nova (the first violent Islamist attempt since 9/11) -are now appearing before the Spanish National Audience. All of them are accused of conspiracy to perform terrorist attacks, namely the one using a bomb car to explode the building of the National Audience; belonging to an armed group; forgery of official documents; and possession of instruments to falsify credit cards. The suspects are believed to share the jihad-salafist ideas that have been associated with al-Qaeda.