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Spain high court throws out three 9/11 terror convictions

[JURIST] The Spanish Supreme Court [official website] has overturned the convictions of three men found guilty [JURIST report; verdict, PDF] last year of collaborating with or belonging to al Qaeda in connection with the Sept. 11 terror attacks [JURIST news archive]. The three men, Driss Chebli, Sadik Merizak, and Abdelaziz Benyaich, were convicted along with 15 other men in what was Europe's largest trial of those suspected of involvement in Sept. 11. Prosecutors from the case actually requested that the high court throw out their convictions because there was not sufficient evidence to jail the three men, and also encouraged the court to throw out a murder conspiracy conviction for the leading suspect in the case, Syrian-born Spaniard Imad Yarkas. The high court has not made a decision yet in Yarkas' appeal. He was convicted [JURIST report] last September of conspiracy with Mohamed Atta and other members of the Hamburg, Germany-based al Qaeda cell widely suspected of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks. Prosecutors believe that the convictions of the remaining 14 men should stand.

The 2005 trial in Spain drew widespread criticism, with many accusations that the 18 convicts were simply Islamic fanatics with no real connection to the terrorist attacks [CSM report; BBC report]. Yarkas denied [JURIST report] any connection to Atta throughout the trial. AP has more.

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