En tyrkisk domstol dømte fredag sju medlemmer av Al Qaida til livsvarig for bombene som gikk av 15. og 20. november 2003. Det var Osama bin Laden som personlig ga ordre om angrepene.
Han ga ordren til syriske Loa’i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa, som var aksjonens «mastermind». Han hadde med seg 170.000 dollar til å finansiere operasjonen. Opprinnelig ønsket Osama at gruppen skulle angripe en amerikansk base. I stedet ble det to synagoger, det britiske konsulatet og en britisk storbank. 58 mennesker ble drept.
Som vanlig i rettssaker mot jihadister, prøvde de å snu rettssaken til propaganda for saken.
Al-Saqa, who was charged with masterminding the bombings, called on holy warriors to keep up their fight, declaring during final arguments Friday that «Victory is very near!»
«Hey my hero brothers! Do not worry for me. Victory is very near!» he said in a brief statement to court.
«Beware, beware, don’t give up for any reason!» he said, and also recited verses from the Quran.
Prosecutors had demanded life imprisonment for al-Saqa, 32, who was accused of giving Turkish militants about $170,000 to carry out the attacks, and four other defendants believed to be ringleaders, including Ilhan.
Police say some suspected ringleaders fled the country after the attacks, and some reportedly died in
Iraq while fighting U.S. forces.
Prosecutors said Osama bin Laden had personally ordered al-Saqa to organize the plot, even though some suspects have testified that al-Qaida was unhappy that the group abandoned an initial plan to attack a base used by the U.S. air force, and instead went after targets that involved killing Muslims.
Al-Saqa was arrested in the southern port city of Antalya in 2005, after explosives accidentally went off in a building he was using as a safe house, forcing him to flee. Turkish authorities say al-Saqa planned to blow up Israeli cruise ships in the Mediterranean.
The Syrian has said he led militants to fight Americans in Iraq, but never planned any attacks in Turkey.