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Funding charges for Spain's al Qaeda chief

  • Story Highlights
  • Leader of al Qaeda in Spain charged on suspicion of financing terrorist cells
  • Two Syrian-born alleged accomplices also charged in new case
  • Eddin Barakat Yarkas jailed for 12 years for leadership of al Qaeda in Spain
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From CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- The convicted leader of al Qaeda in Spain and two Syrian-born alleged accomplices have been charged in a new case on suspicion of financing terrorist cells.

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Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas is pictured during his previous trial for leadership of al Qaeda in Spain.

The suspects in the latest case are Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, 44, who was sentenced in 2005 for leadership of al Qaeda in Spain; and Syrian-born Muhamed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, 47, and Bassam Dalati Satut, 48, both sentenced in the same trial in 2005 for membership in a terrorist group, according to a judge's indictment order, viewed by CNN.

Judge Ismael Moreno of the National Court indicted the three men on April 16, but the court made the document widely available only on Monday, after Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on the case.

The indictment says that Dalati, who has been on provisional liberty, and Kalaje, who is serving a nine-year sentence in prison, removed €51,000 ($76,500) in December 2006 from a company Kalaje created, and delivered the funds to Yarkas, who is serving a 12-year sentence for al Qaeda leadership in Spain.

Police searches in Dalati's home turned up evidence of "two bank checks, issued in December 2006, which have as the beneficiary - without any justifying cause -- Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, for the financing of terrorist cells," the indictment said.

The three-page indictment added that Yarkas lacked the financial means to have a stake in any company.

Yarkas and Kalaje are charged with membership in a terrorist organization in the latest case, and Dalati faces the lesser charge of collaboration with a terrorist group, the indictment said.

All three were quietly arraigned in the latest case on April 24 before the judge, and a court spokeswoman confirmed that they denied the charges.

Yarkas was the key defendant convicted in an al Qaeda trial in September 2005 in Madrid, when the National Court sentenced 18 of the 24 defendants for al Qaeda and terrorism links, acquitting the other six.

It was one of the largest terrorism trials to date in Europe and prosecutors sought thousands of years in jail for Yarkas and two other prime defendants in that case, arguing that they were connected to the deaths of the victims of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

But in the end, the National Court convicted only Yarkas of a 9/11 link in the 2005 trial, and on the lesser charge of conspiracy.

The National Court sentenced Yarkas in 2005 to 27 years in prison --- 12 years for al Qaeda leadership in Spain and 15 years for conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks.

But in June 2006, Spain's Supreme Court overturned the conviction of conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks, leaving Yarkas with just the 12-year sentence for al Qaeda leadership. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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