Judge berates minor at terror trial

The Daily Star

Youssef Diab

Judiciary and Prison System

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Ten minutes into his trial terror suspect Mourad H. was dismissed by the Military Court for deceit. “Where did you get these lies from,” the head of the court Khalil Ibrahim bellowed at the minor. During his testimony in court Mourad contradicted statements he provided during initial investigations.

Strikingly, he denied ever knowing Khaled Ajami and Ihab Horak who, along with six others, are facing charges of belonging to an armed organization. They are also being charged with planning to rob a bank and using those illicit gains in order to finance their purchase of ammunition, ordnance and the manufacture of explosive devices. They planned to use such arms in order to support the ongoing Syrian revolution.

Instead, Mourad claimed that he worked, alongside Horak who he claimed comes from the same village, as blacksmiths. Despite being confronted by the judge, the minor did not change his account and denied his relationship with the rest of the detainees. His session was delayed until July 25.

Nine suspects are undergoing a complex trail on the bases of an accusatory decision. Horak, Ajami, and Mourad are also being charged of attempting to go to Syria in order to participate in the uprisings alongside the rebels. They were also identified as adhering to extremist ideologies.

They reached out to Palestinian national Oussama Shahabi, who lives in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, and asked him to recruit young men to join the battles in Syria.

Meanwhile Horak, Mourad and Ajami set up a plan and agreed to target the Army and Internal Security Forces. The Army checkpoint in Faour would be their first target.

Court proceedings also indicated that the suspects attempted to steal a pistol from an ISF officer in Qubb Elias. They assumed that because she was a woman she would not put up a fight and allow them to rob her of her handgun. Yet they never proceeded with the plan.

Horak gave Mourad money to be used in order to purchase arms to use in the planned bank robbery.

Mourad then bought two hand grenades that he planned to lob at the Army checkpoint and destroy cameras of a military base.

Mourad asked Ajami for further arms and grenades and instructed him to procure them from Mohammad Abed al-Wahid.

Evidence surfaced that shows Mourad communicating via Facebook and his cellphone with detained Islamists Rakan and Mohammad Yassin, Maher Zaghloul, Khalild Malkat and Mohammad Terkat. Mourad also instructed Horak to recruit A.K. and W.K. for these purposes, but was unsuccessful.

Bilal Yamen was charged with delivering explosive devices along with their detonators and hiding them on his roof for three months. The devices belonged to Syrian national Abou Ali and were marked for use in Syria.

Separately, Abdallah Merayan faced the Military Court as he was questioned for allegations of arms dealing and purchasing armaments on behalf of radical Salafist Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir and his militant followers.

Merayan denied the allegations at first but eventually confessed. He also said that he had purchased four military grade rifles for Salafist Sheikh Houssam Sabagh. Merayan confirmed that he had provided Assir’s militants with assault rifles 2 months before the Abra battles. Yet, he denied being a military commander under Assir.

Instead, he claimed that the Secretary-General of the Future Movement Ahmad Hariri had given him $10,000 and instructed him to procure the arms. He also claimed that Hariri had gone to Tripoli and requested a meeting with the notorious Sabagh.

He denied that the Daesh (ISIS) official in Tripoli’s Bab al-Tabbaneh Ibrahim Barakat had lured him into heading an armed group.

“I do not deny that I visited Barakat in Tripoli,” Merayan told the court. “I advised him to leave the organization so that he doesn’t get implicated in security operations,” he added.

Merayan is also being charged with supplying Syrian rebels and local extremist organizations with military weapons.

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