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Israel high court upholds detention without trial for suspected al Qaeda operative

The Israeli Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday upheld the detention of Samer al-Baraq without trial. Al-Baraq, a Palestinian citizen suspected of being an al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] biological weapons expert, has been detained for over three years. Al-Baraq obtained military training in Afghanistan and was recruited by al Qaeda's alleged current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri [BBC profile]. Prosecutors allege that al-Baraq was planning attacks against Israelis and emphasized the threat to Israel that he represented if freed. The court ruled [Reuters report] that there was no way to mitigate that danger other than continuing his detention.

Many cases involving al Qaeda operatives are also making their way through the US judicial system. The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit [official website] last Wednesday upheld [JURIST report] the 2011 conviction of Tarek Mehanna, who was found guilty on four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities. In October suspected terrorist Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai was charged [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. In March Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, was captured [JURIST report] and thereafter indicted in federal court for plotting to kill Americans. In January the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the conspiracy conviction [JURIST report] of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, Osama bin Laden's media secretary.

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