Abdelmalek Droukdel, the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Abdelmalek Droukdel, the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, pictured in an undated photo courtesy of Al-Andalus. An Algerian court sentenced the leader of Al-Qaeda's north African branch and seven other Islamists to death Thursday for a series of murders and bombings, though most were tried in absentia. © - AFP/Al-Andalus/File
Abdelmalek Droukdel, the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
AFP
Last updated: June 29, 2012

Al-Qaeda's north Africa chief sentenced to death in absentia

An Algerian court sentenced the leader of Al-Qaeda's north African branch and seven other Islamists to death Thursday for a series of murders and bombings, though most were tried in absentia.

Abdelmalek Droukdel, the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and six of his co-accused remain at large.

Droukdel has already been sentenced to death by an Algerian court for a string of 2007 attacks, also in absentia.

Just one of those sentenced to death Thursday was present in court, Mohamed Toumi, who prosecutors said was arrested in 2007 after a clash between Algerian security forces and armed Islamists in Bouira, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south-east of Algiers.

Toumi was found guilty of killing five soldiers in 1993, 14 police and eight military police in 1994, and eight more soldiers in 2006.

Prosecutors said Toumi told investigators the names of the group's members and admitted they had carried out a series of murders, kidnappings and attacks.

Two other co-accused who were present at the one-day trial in the Algiers criminal court were acquitted.

© AFP 2012

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