CASABLANCA, Morocco – A prosecutor on Tuesday sought the death penalty for three alleged members of the Al Qaeda terrorist network from Saudi Arabia who are accused of plotting to attack U.S. and British ships in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The trial of the three Saudis and seven alleged Moroccan accomplices opened Oct. 28 in Casablanca, but has been delayed repeatedly.
Authorities have said the three men from Saudi Arabia told Moroccan official they received training at Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. They are suspected of planning to use a dinghy loaded with explosives to attack ships in the strait that separates Morocco from Spain.
"I ask for the maximum penalty because of the gravity of the crimes attributed to the accused and to put an end to terrorism, this blight that all societies are fighting," prosecutor Saoud Grain said.
One of the accused Saudis, Zouhair Hilal Tabiti, told the court that "the charges were invented and fabricated by Moroccan and Israeli police services."
While Moroccan law allows for capital punishment, the Muslim kingdom in North Africa has executed only two people since 1982. Executions are carried out by firing squads.
The Saudis are also accused of planning to blow up a cafe in Marrakech, a major tourist destination, and attack tourist buses in Morocco.