Ahmed Brahim, the latest suspected member of the international Al Qaeda terrorist network to have been arrested in Spain, is on Tuesday to be questioned by Spain's top High Court judge, “super judge” Baltasar Garzón who wanted General Pinochet to be extradited to Spain. Brahim, arrested a week ago in Barcelona, was ordered to be held incommunicado in jail on Wednesday and since police raided his home, investigators have been studying records relating to his yachting business in Palma, where he lived for 14 years until selling his Paseo Maritimo sea front apartment last year. Garzon, who rose to international prominence when he tried to have the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, extradited to Spain, has been spearheading the campaign in Spain against al Qaeda since last year. There are now 19 suspected Islamic militants in Spanish jails, all of whom are awaiting trial on terrorism charges including Brahim, whose Majorca lawyer says has nothing to do with the terrorist organisation. Spanish High Court judge Ismael Moreno ordered that Brahim, suspected of being a finance officer for Al Qaeda, be held in prison after hearing that Brahim had housed one of the key suspects in the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 in Majorca. Garzon has directly linked at least some of the suspects being held in Spanish jails with the attacks on 11 September, although for the moment the police are alleging no link between Brahim and the Spanish Al Qaeda cell Garzon smashed last November. Even before 11 September, he began investigating Islamic cells in Spain, which he believed were planning attacks in Europe. The first Al Qaeda suspect was picked up in June and extradited to France and over the past few years, Spain has seen the arrival of tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants, mainly from North Africa. Evidence gathered during recent arrests in Madrid provides a worrying insight into Al Qaeda's activities in Spain. One of the suspects being held is Edin Barakat Yarkas, better known by his alias Abu Dada. Police alledge he is the head of Al Qaeda in Spain, and was in contact with other cells in Europe. Spanish police, who in connection with the security services in the United States, Germany and France, had been investigating Brahim for the past seven months, even ordering that a LUxembourg bank account be frozen, believe that Brahim could prove crucial to their investigation into Al Qaeda in Spain. While Brahim has admiitted that Salim stayed with him in Palma on two separate occasions, although his lawyer says that Brahim was not fully aware of what Salim did for a living or that he was involved with terrorism, police are keen to establish whether or not Brahim met with Mohammed Atta, one of the September 11 ring leaders and one of the hijackers. Atta visited Spain twice last year, the final visit was in June when he spent some time in Barcelona and police are keen to establish if the two men met. Judge Garzon is expected to follow such a line of inquiry when he questions Brahim next week. What will happen to Brahim and the other suspects remains to be seen. Under the country's anti-terrorism laws, they can be held for up to four years without trial while the investigation continues. That may involve other al-Qaeda suspects held in other countries being extradited to Spain. But the question of Spain extraditing them to the United States, for example, is causing concern, not just because of the death penalty, but because President Bush is now talking about secret military trials. No formal request has been made by the United States for the extradition of Spain's suspected al-Qaeda prisoners. But in recent talks Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar pledged his full support to President Bush and the war on terrorism.


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