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Mauritania - France

Terror suspects on trial in Mauritania for killing French tourists

Toksave/CC, Wiki Commons

Trials of suspected members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi) opened Sunday, twelve of whom have been accused of being involved in the deaths of four French tourists in December 2007. One man has already been convicted of being linked to the terrorist group, and received a prison sentence.

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Dahoud Ould Setti received a ten year prison sentence Sunday and was fined 250,000 ouguiyas (about 731 euros) by the Nouakchott criminal court, according to the AFP news agency. The judge said he had created “his own terrorist organisation” with links to the local branch of Aqmi.

He pleaded not-guilty when he was arrested in June 2008.

His was one of 21 trials of suspected Aqmi members that started Sunday, twelve of whom are suspected of being involved in the deaths of four French tourists in December 2007.

Sidi Ould Sidna, Mohamed Ould Chabarnou and Maarouf Ould Haiba are accused of having shot five French tourists in the southern town of Aleg, killing four. Nine other suspects are being tried for their involvement.

Earlier in the week, on Monday, a Mauritanian was sentenced to eight years in prison for being involved in the kidnapping of two Austrian journalists in Tunisia in 2008. Cheikh Brahim Ould Hammoud was also fined, though his prison sentence was less than the 12 years requested by the prosecution.

In the same case, Mohamed Abdel Moumen received a two-year prison sentence, while a Malian was acquitted.

Aqmi claims to be currently holding two Spaniards and a Frenchman hostage. All three taken remote parts of the Sahel region.

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