Insider 12/13/04: 'Al Qaeda Sympathizers' Sentenced in Iran

In an attempt to put an end to speculations triggered by an Iranian judiciary official's statement last week about al Qaeda members being tried in Iran, a foreign ministry spokesperson announced Sunday that only a number of "al Qaeda sympathizers" were sentenced. Senior members of al Qaeda network are believed to be in Iran, including Seif Al Adl, Suleiman Abu Ghaith and Osama bin Laden's son Saad.

Iran however has been issuing contradictory statements and refusing to reveal the identity of the al Qaeda members. Political divisions and power struggles in Iran appear to compound the problem. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is believed to have at one point provided safe houses for members of the terrorist network, while the government seemed to be against it. An Iranian interior ministry official told a Saudi paper recently that Iran was willing to hand over all of the al Qaeda members to their countries of origin.

Recent reports claimed a senior member of the Egyptian al Gamaa al Islamiya was extradited to Egypt, suggesting relations between the two countries may be improving which could have paved the way for the extradition of more high-value suspects like al Qaeda's Seif al Adl. Relations however quickly deteriorated after Egypt accused an Iranian diplomat of spying and plotting for attacks in the country. Moreover, Egypt said the Iranian diplomat was also involved in planning for terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, including an attack on a petrochemical site in the Saudi oil city of Yanbu in May. Iran strongly denied the charges.



Only Al Qaeda Sympathizers Put On Trial: FM Spokesman

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi announced on Sunday that the judiciary only tried a few number of Iranian sympathizers of al Qaeda. (Tehran Times)

The Search for Bin Laden

A Hostile Land Foils the Quest for bin Laden

The hunt for Osama bin Laden is stalled, frustrated by remote topography and sidetracked by the war in Iraq. (NY Times)


U.S. Agents Use Phone Taps In Bid To Unseat Elbaradei

The U.S. is tapping the phone of Mohamed ElBaradei, hoping to gather information that would help Washington remove him as head of the UN nuclear watchdog, and hasten an all-out effort to force Iran to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. (The Independent)

Homeland Security Department Experiments With New Tool to Track Financial Crime

The Department of Homeland Security has begun experimenting with a wide-ranging computer database that allows investigators to match financial transactions against a list of some 250,000 people and firms with suspected ties to terrorist financing, drug trafficking, money laundering and other financial crimes. (NY Times)

Bush Search For New Terror Chief

The White House was yesterday scrambling to find a new candidate for the high-profile post of homeland security chief after its original choice was forced to stand down for hiring a nanny who was an illegal immigrant. (The Guardian)


Pakistan Arrests Militant Leader

Pakistan has arrested the head of a militant Islamic group wanted in connection with the kidnapping of three U.N. workers in Afghanistan. (South Asia News)


Top Taliban Commanders Captured in Afghan Raid

US-led forces and Afghan soldiers arrested two senior Taliban commanders and six militants during an operation in south central Afghanistan, officials said yesterday. (AFP)

U.S. Accused Over Afghan Prisons

The New York-based campaign group Human Rights Watch says it has uncovered evidence that three more prisoners have died in US detention in Afghanistan. (BBC)


KGB Legacy Of Poison Politics

Doctors confirmed that dioxin poisoned Ukraine's Yushchenko. (CS Monitor)



9/11 Cases Proving Difficult in Germany Suspects may be sent elsewhere for trial. (Washington Post)


Spain PM Testifies at Bombing Inquiry

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, testifying Monday before a parliamentary commission investigating Spain's worst terrorist attack, dismissed any link between his surprise election victory last March and the Madrid train bombings three days earlier. (AP)


Tough British Anti-Terror Law Faces Key Legal Test

Britain's top court will decide on Thursday whether the country's draconian anti-terror law that allows foreign suspects to be locked up without trial is legal. (Reuters)


Zarqawi Aide On Trial In Jordan Denies Plotting Iraq Attacks

A Jordanian man accused along with Iraq's most wanted man Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of plotting attacks against US and Jordanian targets in Iraq denied any wrongdoing at the start of the trial Monday. (AFP)


Suicide Bombing Kills 13 in Baghdad

A suicide car bomber linked to al Qaeda killed 13 people in Baghdad on Monday, the first anniversary of Saddam Hussein's capture, and clashes resumed in Fallujah, a one-time insurgent stronghold that American forces believed they had conquered. Seven U.S. Marines died in combat in western Iraq. (AP)

Red Cross Asked To Check On Alleged Saddam Hunger Strike

The International Red Cross is being asked to investigate reports that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and several of his former colleagues are on a hunger strike in captivity. (CBC)

Saddam's Illicit Trade Was Known To U.S. Officials

Saddam Hussein was dead broke, the result of U.N. penalties. Or so it was thought. So where did the Iraqi President find the money to pursue missile technology from North Korea, air defense systems from Belarus and other prohibited military equipment. (AP)

Zarqawi's Group Claims Green Zone Bombing

A group led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Baghdad which killed at least seven people on Monday, according to an Internet statement. (Reuters)

Iran, Syria Supporting Insurgents – Iraqi Official

Iran and Syrian are allegedly supporting the insurgency in Iraq, according to Hekmat Moussa, deputy interior minister and the person in charge of security in Baghdad. The interior ministry's intelligence department submitted documents to the prime minister's office proving the involvement of the two countries, Moussa told Al Hayat newspaper. He said the two countries were informed about the documents after some suspects were arrested coming through their borders. (Al Hayat)

Hussein's 'Swift' Trial Still Delayed

The former leader hasn't met with any of his 20 lawyers for a trial not expected until 2006. (LA Times)


Foxes in Iran's Henhouse

The key to the nuclear dispute in Iran will be exploiting the power struggle between the clerics and the military. (NY Times)

SDF Deployment In Iraq

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, known for his brusque comments, seemed unusually humble Thursday during his news conference to announce that the Self-Defense Forces mission in Iraq is being extended for another year. And he bowed deeply, saying, ``I sincerely ask the Japanese people for your understanding and support.'' (Asahi)

The Insurgents' Troubling Gains In Mosul

A year ago, the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was a model for American commanders of how to do it right. U.S. troops worked closely with Iraqis and gradually gained their trust; they found ways to finance thousands of popular reconstruction projects; they even helped produce offbeat programs for local television, including a Mosul version of "Cops," and a talent show they called "Iraqi Idol." (The Daily Star)

Postponing The Election Can Save Iraq

As concerns over participation, security and legitimacy mount, rescheduling the vote is the best way to go. (Newsday)

An Electoral Nightmare

As Iraq hurtles with ever greater speed towards chaos US occupation forces continue to insist that the elections will take place as scheduled. Moreover, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi still claims that things are proceeding as they should and that free elections are around the corner. (Al Ahram Weekly)

The Insider Daily Investigative Report (DIR) is a summary of major news articles and broadcasts relating to investigative news, including international terrorism and developments in Iraq. The DIR is edited daily from foreign and U.S. sources by Chris Isham, Hoda Osman and Brinda Adhikari of the ABC News Investigative Unit. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ABCNEWS.