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Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 16:50 UK

Belgium convicts eight on terrorism charges

File photo of Malika El Aroud from 2003
Malika El Aroud was the key suspect in the case

A court in Belgium has convicted a 50-year-old Belgian woman for leading a group that recruited militants to fight in Afghanistan.

Moroccan-born Malika El Aroud, the main figure in the trial, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Seven other suspects were convicted and sentenced, while one person was aquitted due to a lack of evidence.

The nine were arrested in 2009 after prosecutors said they had discovered plans for a suicide attack.

El Aroud was found guilty of "leading a terrorist group linked with al-Qaeda" which recruited people in France and Belgium and sent them to fight in Afghanistan.

El Aroud's first husband, Abdessatar Dahmane, was the suicide bomber responsible for killing the leader of Afghanistan's anti-Taleban Northern Alliance, Ahmed Shah Massoud, in September 2001.

Her second husband, Moez Garsallaoui, who was tried in absentia by the Belgian court, also received an eight year term.

Hisham Beyayo, who was portrayed as the group's third-in-command, was sentenced to five years.



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