Guantanamo ex-detainee indicted in Spain on charges of aiding ISIS

Alleged Al-Qaeda suspect Moroccan Lahcen Ikassrien has been indicted on charges of recruiting and sending militants to help ISIS fighters.

Story highlights

  • Lahcen Ikassrien has been indicted, along with 14 other suspected militants
  • They are charged with recruiting and sending militants to help ISIS
  • Indictment calls Ikassrien the "charismatic leader" of Madrid-based group
  • He was acquitted in 2006, having argued that he was tortured at Guantanamo
A suspected Islamic militant who was detained in Afghanistan in 2001, imprisoned at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but later acquitted at trial in
Spain, is again facing a trial in Madrid on new charges.
The suspect, Moroccan national Lahcen Ikassrien, has been indicted, along with 14 other suspected militants, on charges of recruiting and sending militants to help ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria.
Investigating magistrate Pablo Ruz at Spain's National Court, which handles terrorism cases, issued the indictments on Tuesday, which were made public Thursday, and CNN viewed a copy.
Ikassrien, who is in his late 40s, was arrested last June in Madrid, where he lives. He is the suspected "charismatic leader of the organization," and was "the determining factor" for recruits, providing them with "cover and international contacts," Judge Ruz wrote.
The Madrid-based cell had contacts with militants in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, France and Belgium, the magistrate alleges in a 102-page indictment order, which sets the case for trial before a panel of judges. No trial date has been set.
In 2003, a different judge at the National Court, in a separate indictment, repeatedly cited Ikassrien and said he had been recruited earlier to go to Afghanistan by a Syrian-born man, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, who was later convicted of being al Qaeda's leader in Spain.
After Ikassrien's capture in Afghanistan by U.S. forces in 2001, he was sent to Guantanamo, but then extradited to Spain in 2005. He was acquitted in 2006 of charges he was a member of a terrorist group. At trial he had argued that he was tortured while a prisoner at Guantanamo.
In this case, Ikassrien and the 14 other defendants are charged with membership in a terrorist group. If convicted, they face up to 12 years in prison, the judge wrote.
Spain's interior minister said earlier this year that about 50 militants have left Spain to assist ISIS, or ISIL, the extremist group that refers to itself as the Islamic State. Security officials have expressed particular concern about these or other Islamic militant fighters returning from combat zones to Spain and other Western countries, and potentially carrying out attacks.