An Algerian court has sentenced the head of Al-Qaeda’s North African offshoot to death in his absence on 13 March 2012.
Judge Tayeb Hillali of the court in Algiers said Abdelmalek Droukdel, leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM), and eight co-defendants were sentenced to death for premeditated murder, membership of a terrorist group and attacks using explosives.
There were 18 people put on trial for a suicide bombing targeting the prime minister’s office in April 2007 and two simultaneous attacks elsewhere in Algiers that killed 20 people and wounded 222. The nine of the committed were absent in the trial.
The court documents that opened on March 14 say that a fourth attack was thwarted when security services defused a car bomb.
Droukdel alias Abou Moussaab Abdelouadoud, a 42-year-old engineer by training, is said to consider Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq killed by the US military in 2006 as his mentor.
He arrived at the head of what was then called the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat in 2004, muscling his way in by brutally eliminating rivals. The group has since changed its name to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb.