Spain's Supreme Court yesterday overturned an al-Qaida suspect's conviction for conspiracy to commit murder in the September 11 terrorist attacks, weeks after prosecutors acknowledged the case against him was weak.
The high court threw out a 15-year sentence against Syrian-born Imad Yarkas for conspiracy to commit murder in the airliner attacks in the United States, but upheld a 12-year sentence he received for belonging to a terror organization.
It also confirmed the acquittal of three other suspects accused of belonging to or collaborating with al-Qaida. They had already been released in April at the request of prosecutors. They are Moroccans Driss Chebli, Sadik Merizak and Abdelaziz Benyaich.
The court announced only its verdicts in Yarkas' appeal and the other cases, not its specific grounds for the decisions. The reasoning is expected to be released in a few days, court officials said.
Yarkas is alleged to have founded and led an al-Qaida cell in Spain, which investigators say was a staging ground for the attacks, along with Germany. He was one of 18 people found guilty of terrorism charges in a trial that ended in September of last year. But prosecutors in April had asked the court to overturn his conviction in the US attacks, citing a lack of evidence.
A three-judge Spanish panel at a lower court that handed down the ruling against Yarkas in September said he was innocent of a more serious charge of being accomplice to mass murder, but guilty of "conspiracy with the suicide terrorist" Mohamed Atta and other members of the Hamburg, Germany-based cell that staged the September 11 attacks.
Source: China Daily