Algerian Convicted of Terrorism to Testify Against Compatriot in US
An Algerian man convicted of smuggling explosives from Canada into the US as part of an international terror plot to set off bombs during year 2000 celebrations has a new role: witness for the prosecution, reported the Daily News online edition.
Ahmed Ressam will testify at the trial of a fellow Algerian and alleged accomplice, a Manhattan Federal Court judge was quoted as saying Tuesday.
Mokhtar Haouari, 32, an Algerian from Montreal, is accused of conspiring with Ressam to commit terrorism and of engaging in identity fraud to raise money for the plot.
As jury selection in Haouari's case got underway, Judge John Keenan indicated Ressam would testify — confirming reports that he has agreed to cooperate with the government, said the paper.
Ressam, 33, was arrested Dec. 14 in Washington state after arriving in the US on a ferry from Canada. He was driving a rented car with a trunkful of explosives and four timing devices.
Seattle canceled its year 2000 celebrations after his arrest.
Ressam, who faces up to 140 years in prison, agreed to testify after he was convicted of terrorism charges in Los Angeles two months ago.
He has told the government that busy Los Angeles International Airport was on his list of targets.
Haouari was arrested in Montreal after Ressam's arrest.
Another alleged accomplice, Abdelghani Meskini, pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors. He also is expected to testify against Haouari.
According to the report, a French terrorism expert called to testify at Ressam's trial said evidence links him to suspected terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
But the judge barred the jury from hearing the testimony, calling it prejudicial to the defense – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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