The terror tapes
As the trial of the four men charged with terrorism and illegal weapons possession in connection with an attempted terrorist attack in 2010 continues in Glostrup Municipal Court, one the men accused admitted that a voice heard on tapes secretly recorded by the Swedish security police SÄPO is indeed his own.
Sahbi Zalouti admitted he could be heard speaking, but claimed not to recall having the conversations that were played to the court, and said that they only amounted to “idle chatter.”
“A newspaper has many rooms, you must bring many people with you,” Zalouti can be heard saying. “Kill everybody.”
Zalouti said that he does not remember that specific conversation and that what he is discussing on the tapes is not a terrorist plot to attack the 2010 Årets Fund – a high-profile sports awards ceremony – but instead a general lifestyle strategy.
When prosecutor Gyrithe Ulrich asked Zalouti if he was planning an attack, he replied: “Absolutely not. People have strategies to live by. That is what it is about,” Zalouti said.
Zalouti is also heard on the tapes saying that those that participated in the attack should accept that they could end up being martyrs.
“We are hoping for the best,” he said. "When we enter, we should keep our heads away from the windows. We will have 20 minutes before we are surrounded.”
The recording was made in Zalouti’s Stockholm apartment on December 28, 2010, one day before the men were arrested in a Copenhagen suburb.
The recording is just one of many played for the court.
A Christmas Eve conversation between Zalouti and Mounir Dhahri revealed the two men talking about the timing of the attack.
Zalouti confirmed in court that he can be heard on the tape speaking to Dhahri about an attack, be he said he was just trying to buy time so that he could find a way to sabotage the plot. He called his conversation with Dhahri “idle chatter".
Dhahri claims he was not in the apartment and says that it is not him telling Zalouti: “You go in with weapons. There is no authority at the newspaper. Anyone in front of you, they die.”
On the tape, the men can also be heard discussing the 2002 attack by Chechen rebels on the Dubrovka Theatre in Moscow. That hostage situation lasted several days before Russian security forces stormed the theatre and killed the gunmen. Some 129 of the nearly 800 hostages were killed.
Zalouti and Dhahri are accused along with Munir Awad and Omar Abdalla Aboelazm of planning the attacks on Jyllands-Posten’s Copenhagen offices in retaliation for the paper publishing cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed in 2005.
In addition to the plot against the newspaper's office, which it shares with Politiken newspaper, the foursome had also planned other separate acts to terrorise the population at large.
Jyllands-Posten has been the target of Islamic-inspired terror ever since it published the cartoons.
The four men on trial – three Swedish citizens and one Tunisian – face life sentences. They have all pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. A decision is expected in mid-June.