Trial of 21 Islamic extremists opens in Mauritania on Monday
The first ever trial of alleged Islamic extremists in Mauritania opened on Monday (May 21st) in Nouakchott. Twenty-one suspects, some of them charged with having links to Algeria’s former Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) have been brought to the Mauritanian capital's criminal court. Seven of the suspects are Mauritanians accused of undergoing military training by the GSPC, which recently changed its name to al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb. Legal sources said the men were trained "to commit acts of terrorism in Mauritania and to wage war against foreign armies in Iraq." The defendants were arrested in April and June 2005, and have been charged with preparing the attack on a Mauritanian army garrison in Lemgheity, in northeast Mauritania, that killed 17 soldiers and wounded 69 others. It is the first time that a trial of alleged Islamists will take place in Mauritania. After his election, President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdellahi promised a fast, just and unbiased trial for the suspected Islamists.
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