ALGERIA. 14 SENTENCED TO DEATH IN ABSENTIA FOR TERRORISM
May 30, 2008: an Algerian criminal court sentenced 14 people to death in absentia for a series of crimes, the official Algerian News Agency reported.
The suspects were sentenced by the Court of Boumerdes for the "constitution of an armed terrorist group and possession of weapons, ammunitions and explosive materials," an Algerian judicial source was quoted as saying.
Some defendants walked away with lighter sentences as the level of punishment was largely dependent on the gravity of the criminal charges. Mehdi, the key suspect in the case, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
"The Algerian authorities showed some degree of leniency owing to the fact that Mehdi identified seven people arrested in the case," a reliable source said. During the investigations, Mehdi led the security forces to secret caches in the mountains of Zbarbar in Bouira which served as the main operational base for his group. (Sources: Xinhua, 30/05/2008)