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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Terror-link pair jailed
police car
The two men were arrested during raids in Leicester
Two Algerians linked with al-Quaeda have been found guilty of plotting to raise money for terrorist activities.

Brahim Benmerzouga, 31, and Baghdad Meziane, 38, planned to make money, equipment and propaganda material available to Islamic extremists, Leicester Crown Court heard during the eight-week trial.

The two Algerians were also allegedly part of an international credit card fraud aimed at raising funds for terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda.

Benmerzouga and Meziane were both jailed for 11 years on Tuesday.

They entered Britain illegally and were living in Leicester when they were arrested in September 2001, the court had been told.

False passports

The pair had denied "entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism".

Benmerzouga did admit one charge of conspiracy to defraud by manufacturing or using false bank cards and account details, as well as three charges of possessing false passports.

Meziane, who was seeking asylum in Britain, denied conspiracy to defraud but pleaded guilty to possessing one false passport in the name of Cyril Jacob.

During the trial Mark Ellison, prosecuting, said the two men had conspired to send recruits to training camps and to provide materials to promote and justify terrorism against "enemies of Islam".

The two Algerians were linked to a network of people across Europe sharing similar interests in Islamic extremism, Mr Ellison said.

Shocking videos

The court heard they had used the false passports to open bank accounts, claim benefits and gain employment in Britain.

Mr Ellison said Meziane had claimed 2,000 income support, housing benefit and council tax relief and worked illegally at a food factory in Corby, Northamptonshire, as Cyril Jacob.

Mr Ellison said they controlled a large collection of "shocking and heavily religious" videos, including 19 copies of a film devoted to Osama Bin Laden's speeches.

During the trial, the men were flanked by armed police, and sat behind bullet-proof glass with an interpreter, who translated the proceedings into Arabic.


SEE ALSO:
Algeria's 'export of terror'
26 Feb 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Algeria
03 Mar 03  |  Country profiles


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