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Qatar to assist Bahrain terror probe

Manama, January 26, 2012

Qatar will be asked to share details of an investigation that led to eight men being charged with planning a series of terrorist attacks in Bahrain.

Five of the suspects appeared in Bahrain's High Criminal Court yesterday (January 25) amid tight security.

However, the trial was adjourned until February 2 after defence lawyers asked to see the Qatari investigation files.

The eight Bahrainis have been accused of being members of an Iran-backed terrorist cell planning attacks on targets in Bahrain, including the King Fahad Causeway, Saudi Embassy and Interior Ministry.

Shi'ite Bahrainis were allegedly recruited for sabotage training in Iran and prosecutors claim they were seeking to overthrow the government, suspend the Constitution and encroach on individual freedoms and rights.

The court yesterday rejected a request to transfer the case to the Judicial Supreme Council, after defence lawyers accused the main judge of not being impartial - since he is a member of the Ruling Family.

However, the request was thrown out after an exchange in court - during which the judge said his name had no influence on his handling of the case.

"I will treat this case like any other case," he said. "If they are proved innocent with no evidence convicting them, they will be acquitted. If they are proven guilty, they will be convicted."

He dismissed a suggestion by lawyer Mohsin Al Alawi that he could be "embarrassed".

"I don't feel embarrassed," he responded. "Therefore, I will handle this case."

Meanwhile, a request by lawyer Mohammed Al Jishi for the court to accept his client's medical report was accepted. He said it showed his client suffered from heart problems and needed to be released from custody to receive treatment.

A request by defence lawyer Reem Khalaf, who asked for her client to be seen by a medical examiner because of a head wound that required surgery, was also accepted.

She said he suffered the birdshot injury last year.

One of the men, a 30-year-old, is believed to be one of the ringleaders of the alleged cell.

The two other masterminds, Abdulraouf Al Shayeb and Ali Mushaima, are still on run and are believed to be in the UK.

They allegedly financed a third suspect, who is also at large, to receive weapons training from Iran's Revolutionary Guards, according to court documents.

It is suspected he received BD3,000 ($79.570) from Iran's Basij militia group to support the cell, according to case files.

Two of the defendants, aged 27 and 25, are accused of sneaking into Saudi Arabia and then heading to Qatar where they met two other suspects.

All four were then arrested by Qatari authorities at the border, allegedly on their way to Iran to receive training in explosives and firearms.

They were handed over to Bahraini authorities on November 4 and the fifth suspect was later arrested in Bahrain.

Qatari security authorities are said to have recovered documents and a laptop from the four suspects containing sensitive information as well as airline bookings to Syria.

The 27-year-old and 25-year-old suspects confessed to leaving the country illegally at a previous hearing, but denied the other charges.

Judges adjourned the case to inform the three suspects still at large to attend. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Qatar | causeway | King Fahad | Terror probe | Criminal Court |

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