Prosecution rests case in terror trial

Suspect says they were only in Copenhagen for the fireworks

May 3rd, 2012 1:50 pm| by admin

The prosecution has rested its case in the trial of the four men charged with terrorism and illegal weapons possession in connection with an attempted terrorist attack in 2010.

Munir Awad, Omar Abdalla Aboelazm and Sahbi Ben Mohamed Zalouti, who are all Swedish nationals, and Mounir Ben Mohamed Dhahri, who is Tunisian, all face life sentences if convicted.

During testimony last week, a weapons experts called one of the guns the men had with them when they were caught “junk.”

Weapons expert Per Stougaard said that he never seen any thing quite like it in 25 years of police work. The bullets jammed, the magazine fell out and although the weapon was technically a machine gun, it was nearly impossible to get it to fire more than one round at a time.

“It can shoot, but it is not a good weapon,” said Stougaard.

That gun, along with another pistol and several hundred rounds of ammunition, was found in a backpack hidden in a rented Toyota Avensis that three of the suspects were driving when they were apprehended outside of Copenhagen in late December, 2010. The fourth suspect was rounded up at an apartment he had rented in Herlev.

Other testimony last week revealed that the group had been under surveillance by the Swedish security police Säpo since autumn of 2010 and that the level of monitoring increased in December of that year.

A female Säpo agent said that she had directed an operation code-named 'Aqua' that gathered evidence that the four suspects were plotting to storm Jyllands-Posten's Copenhagen office with assault weapons. Evidence in the trial indicated that the 2010 Årets Fund, a high-profile sports awards ceremony that is held in the building, was the suspect’s likely target.

Jyllands-Posten has been the target of Islamic-inspired terror ever since it published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in 2005, drawing the ire of Muslims around the world.

Because of her sensitive position inside Säpo, the identity of the woman was protected by the court and court artists were not allowed to draw her image. The woman refused to reveal the exact methods used against the suspects and only said that there were officers shadowing the men while they were in Sweden.

When one of the defendant’s attorneys asked her if she thought she had been detected by the suspects, she replied: “You’ll have to ask them.”

One of the accused admitted in court that there were weapons in the car, but claimed that he was bringing them to Copenhagen to be repaired. According to the suspect, the trip was planned to coincide with New Year’s Eve so that the suspects could enjoy what he called Copenhagen’s 'famous' year-end fireworks. Earlier in the trial, the defendants indicated that they were only after a Big Mac.

One of the attorneys for the accused told Politiken that he thought the prosecution had a strong case.

The four men have all pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. The trial will continue through May and a decision is expected in mid-June.

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