The verdicts, sentences and appeals
The trial went for nine months. The jury deliberated for twenty-one days before delivering their verdicts on twenty-seven charges laid against the twelve defendants.
The Muslim cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika was found guilty on all charges. These included:
(1) Directing a terrorist organisation
(2) Being a member of a terrorist organisation and
(3) Possessing a CD connected with the preparation of a terrorist act.
He was sentenced to fifteen years in jail.
Six others were found guilty of various offences including:
Ezzit Raad who was found guilty of (1) ‘intentionally being a member of a terrorist organisation’ and (2) ‘of intentionally making funds available to a terrorist organisation’. Raad was sentenced to a maximum of seven and a half years in jail.
Abdullah Merhi was found guilty of (1) ‘intentionally being a member of a terrorist organisation’ but not guilty ‘of intentionally providing resources to a terrorist organisation’ and hence not guilty of ‘volunteering to be a suicide bomber’. Merhi was sentenced to a maximum of six years in jail. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on one of the twelve men charged.
Four of the accused men were acquitted on all charges but will get no compensation for the three years they spent in jail prior to the trial and while awaiting verdicts.
All men appealed
All men found guilty appealed their convictions and sentences. While awaiting the hearing of these appeals they remained imprisoned. Some convictions were overturned and some sentences reduced. Abdullah Merhi’s sentence was reduced from six years with a non-parole of four and a half years to a sentence of four years with a non-parole of three years. He had already been in jail for four and a half years.