Tunisian sent behind bars for links to al-Qaeda
Tunisian national Jaber Trabelsi was sentenced to eight years in jail by a military court at a closed hearing Wednesday for being involved in "terrorist activities" linked to the al-Qaeda network, his lawyer said.
Trabelsi had appealed a 20-year jail sentence handed down in absentia while he was living in Italy in January. He was thrown into a Tunisian jail a month later when he returned to Tunisia because of improper resident papers.
In January, he was found guilty, along with 33 other men, of "having served, in times of peace, a terrorist organization active abroad," which was named as Ahl al-Jamaa wal-Sunna (Partisans of Consensus and Prophetic Tradition), suspected of having provided logistical support to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
Trabelsi argued that he had been illegally interrogated by Tunisian security officers upon his return to the country and has denied all charges of terrorist links.
His lawyer Samir Bilou said that Trabelsi's innocence was proved in part by the fact that he appears on no American, European, or Italian lists of terrorist suspects.
Although he had visited Afghanistan, Trabelsi denied committing or planning terrorist attacks, Bilou said, and also said the Partisans of Consensus organization he was accused of being a member of did not exist.
Trabelsi's fellow defendants were given prison sentences in January of between eight and 20 years, AFP reported. (Albawaba.com)
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