Al Qaeda suspects appear in Moroccan court
Three Saudi men suspected of belonging to a sleeper cell of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network have appeared in court in Casablanca, a government newspaper reported Saturday.
The three, who were detained last month, are allegedly members of a cell that was said to be preparing attacks against Morocco and on NATO ships in the Strait of Gibraltar, according to the interior ministry.
Four Moroccans, including three women - two of them married to the accused Saudis - also appeared in court for a preliminary hearing Friday, the Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki newspaper said.
The court appearance was "shrouded in secrecy", according to the daily, which added that the accused had legal representation.
On Tuesday, the interior ministry announced that security services had dismantled an al-Qaeda sleeper cell.
According to media reports on Friday, Washington had asked for the three Saudis to be transferred to the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to join prisoners from the US-led war in Afghanistan.
However, Morocco rejected the request, saying Moroccan judicial authorities "had taken the matter into their hands," according to the Maroc-Hebdo newspaper.
In addition, Maroc-Hebdo reported Friday that the Pentagon had dispatched a group of officers to question the three suspected al-Qaeda members, but Washington has not confirmed the report. (Albawaba.com)