Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Reuters AlertNet - Qaeda verdict announcement on hold, Iran official

Reuters AlertNet - Qaeda verdict announcement on hold, Iran official: "Qaeda verdict announcement on hold, Iran official
07 Dec 2004 10:41:08 GMT

Source: Reuters

TEHRAN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Iran's judiciary will not be announcing the verdicts in the cases of several al Qaeda members who were tried in the Islamic state until the legal process permitted, an official said on Tuesday.

Tehran's Justice Department Chief Abbasali Alizadeh was quoted on Monday as saying that the judiciary had tried a number of arrested al Qaeda members.

"The issued verdicts will be announced when the legal obstacles were removed," the judiciary official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

When asked about what were the "legal obstacles", the source said: "I have been told to give no further details."

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said last year that some al Qaeda members whose citizenship had been revoked by their native countries would be put on trial in Iran, but refused to name them.

Hossein Mousavian, secretary of the foreign policy committee of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said in June that the suspects were middle-ranking al Qaeda members.

They had been "plotting against the national security of Iran and they have planned for terrorist activities inside Iran", he said.

The most important figure that Western intelligence agencies say may be in Iran is Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian. He is widely believed to have taken charge of al Qaeda operations after Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, was captured in Pakistan.

Iran has ruled out handing over any al Qaeda members to the United States but it says it had extradited about 500 to unspecified "friendly countries".

News of the trials is likely to anger Washington which has repeatedly called on Iran to hand over all al Qaeda suspects it is holding. Guilty verdicts sentencing them to long jail terms would make that an even more distant prospect.

Iran strongly rejects providing a safe haven to al Qaeda members, as Washington alleges."