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UK al Qaeda suspects in court

Suspects can be detained without trial (file picture)  

LEICESTER, England (CNN) -- Two Algerian men have been charged with membership of the al Qaeda terrorist network, police said.

The men face several terrorism-related charges and appeared in a magistrates court in the central English city of Leicester on Thursday, when they were remanded in custody.

Baghdad Meziane, 37, was charged with directing al Qaeda, an organisation concerned in the commission of terror, inciting an act of terror overseas, membership of al Qaeda, and four charges relating to the financing of terror.

Brahim Ben Merzouga, 30, has been charged with membership of al Qaeda, four charges relating to the financing of terror, possession of an article for the purposes of terror and possession of racially inflammatory material with a view to distribution.

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Police also said on Thursday they had arrested a further eight people in Leicester under the Terrorism Act 2000 and three more under the Immigration Act 1971.

The arrests were made in a joint operation between Leicestershire Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police Service's anti-terrorist branch, supported by HM Immigration Service.

The 11 men were arrested at eight different addresses in the city. The premises were later being searched for possible evidence. One other address was also being searched.

The arrested men, aged between 23 and 40, were taken into custody in Leicestershire.

Britain passed a controversial anti-terrorist law in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States that gives law enforcement authorities the power to detain foreign national terrorist suspects without trial.

The government said the law was aimed at a handful of people in Britain seen as a security threat but who could not be sent back to their home countries because they could face the death penalty.

A police spokesman said: "People in parts of Leicester may see additional police activity and experience some disruption to their normal lifestyle over the next couple of days.

"We must stress that there is no evidence to suggest any terrorist threat against Leicestershire or that people in Leicestershire are at any greater risk, however we would remind people to remain vigilant and report any suspicions to the police."


• Eight terror suspects arrested
December 19, 2001
• UK passes anti-terror law
December 14, 2001
• UK MPs vote for anti-terror bill
November 20, 2001
• Prodi calls for EU unity on terror
November 15, 2001

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