Friday, 29 April 2011

Al-Qaeda is among the suspects in connection with a bomb attack that killed 16 in Marrakesh

Khalid Naciri, communications minister, said that investigators would pursue all leads including possible links to al-Qaeda which operates a North African offshoot which is active in the region.
"All leads will be investigated, including al-Qaeda," he said.
"The investigation continues to find the perpetrators, but for the moment I am not prepared to point the finger."
Fourteen people, most of them foreigners, died Thursday when a suspected suicide bomb exploded at a crowded tourist cafe in Djemaa el-Fna, the main square of Marrakesh.
A total of 23 others were badly injured, two of whom died overnight, bring the toll to 16 Friday.


Suspect in Marta del Castillo case has another appeal turned down by the court

Francisco Javier Delgado's appeal argued there was insufficient evidence against himMarta del Castillo - EFE archive

A new appeal by Francisco Javier Delgado, brother of the main suspect in the Marta del Castillo case, Miguel Carcaño, has been turned by the provincial court in Seville.

Delgado’s lawyer had argued that his client should not stand trial as he claimed the only evidence against him was testimony from El Cuco, the juvenile who was recently found guilty of covering up Marta’s death.

It’s understood that the court did not mention the basis for Delgado’s appeal in the text of its decision, simply saying that it was ‘not applicable’, as an earlier appeal he had lodged had only recently been turned down by the same court.

Europa Press reports that Delgado’s defence is now considering an appeal to the Constitutional Court following Thursday’s ruling from Seville.


Network which helped drug smugglers to bypass coast controls brought down in Huelva

The National Police have made two more arrests in their investigations in Huelva into a network which helped drug smugglers to bypass controls on the coast of the province. Eight people were arrested last month, including two Civil Guard, and with these latest arrests police now say the network has been disbanded.

Detectives had been working on the case for the past seven months and discovered that the organisation had fitted tracking devices to 11 Civil Guard vehicles to control their movements. Another part of the service offered was to put the SIVE electronic surveillance system out of action in some areas, to allow the smugglers to approach the coast undetected.

The Interior Ministry said in a press release on Thursday that the two Civil Guard formed a key part of their operation, as did one of the latest two suspects taken into custody, a guard security for the Agencia Tributaria Tax Authority.

Almost two and a half tons of cannabis were seized in February during the course of the investigation.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Morocco frees 92 political prisoners

Morocco freed 92 political prisoners on Thursday, including a prominent anti-corruption activist and a controversial preacher, under a pardon issued by the king following street protests demanding democratic reform.

The pardon also commuted to limited prison terms death penalties for five others and life imprisonments for 37 others, officials from the National Council for Human Rights said.

Prison terms for 53 others were also reduced.

The majority of those freed or whose sentences were reduced were members of the Islamist Salafist Jihad group.

Mohamed Sebbar, appointed secretary general of the Council by King Mohammed in March, said the pardon was a prelude to a thorough review of the cases of political prisoners in Morocco.

Those freed included preacher Mohammed Fizazi, who was sentenced in 2003 to 30 years in jail after he was convicted of inspiring 12 suicide bombers to kill 33 people in Casablanca earlier that year, in Morocco`s deadliest bomb attack.

Local human right groups have said hundreds, including Salafist Jihad sympathisers, were jailed after the attack in politically motivated trials, often without solid evidence.

Last month, King Mohammed announced constitutional reform to give up some of his sweeping powers and make the judiciary independent in Morocco, a staunch ally of the West.

It came after a youth-led movement called Feb 20 spearheaded some of the biggest anti-establishment protests in decades in the North African country, with demands that included the release of political prisoners.

“This pardon indicates that the king has once again picked up the streets` message,” political analyst Ahmed el-Bouz said.

Five people who were jailed in 2009 after a court convicted them of plotting terrorist attacks in the country and who were among those freed were present at Thursday`s news conference, including prominent figures of two moderate Islamist parties. “I would like to thank the youth of Feb 20 Movement,” Mustapha Mouatassim, one of them, said.

Mostly-veiled female relatives broke into tears and chanted “God is Greatest” when the group was brought to the Council venue in black cars. One woman, Houria Amer, wept in disappointment when she realised that her husband Luqman Mokhtar, who was also jailed in 2009, was not among them.

“They have all been jailed unfairly under the same sham case. How can they free some and leave others in prison?” she said.

Corruption whistleblower and human right activist Chakib El-Khiari, jailed for three years in 2009 after accusing high-ranking officials of involvement in drug trafficking, was among those pardoned and freed. Amnesty International has said Khiari was a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for his anti-corruption statements and human rights activities


Gangland drug haul suspect Dawes appears before Spanish judge

A MAN named as a Notts drugs "general" has appeared before a Spanish judge – nearly three years after he was first arrested in Dubai.

Robert Dawes, 39, has previously been named in court as one of three men who ran the drugs trade in north Notts.

The other two are currently serving long jail terms.

Dawes left Notts for the Mijas Costa, near Marbella in Spain, nine years ago and later relocated to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

He was arrested in 2008 in Dubai over the seizure of almost 200kg of cocaine – then worth around £14m – near Madrid in 2007. But Spain has no extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates and it has taken until now for him to be taken back to Spain.

Dawes was held on an international arrest warrant last Wednesday in Dubai and was flown to Madrid on Thursday to appear before a duty judge.

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil, the Spanish police, said that Dawes was expected to be formally charged in Court 32 in Madrid over the cocaine seizure when the Spanish courts reopened after Easter.

The cocaine seizure operation was led by the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency with the backing of the Guardia Civil.

Meanwhile, the Post understands that Notts Police have contacted the widow of Sutton-in-Ashfield father-of-two David Draycott, who was murdered in 2002, to inform her that Dawes is in custody in Spain.

A police spokesman said: "Detectives are continuing to investigate the murder of David Draycott and are following up a number of lines of inquiry."

At a recent assets recovery hearing at Birmingham Crown Court involving alleged associates of Dawes, he was named in court papers by investigators from the Serious Organised Crime Agency as a "highly significant international criminal" wanted in three countries, including the UK and Holland.

In Holland, he is under investigation in connection with the murder of schoolteacher Gerard Meesters in Groningen in 2002.

Both Mr Meesters and Mr Draycott were gunned down outside their homes. Two British men were convicted for their roles in the murder of Mr Meesters, who was killed after he refused to reveal the location of a woman who, the court was told, had been working as a drugs courier for Dawes. The two convicted men refused to state who else was involved in the killing, citing fear of reprisals against their relatives.

Dawes was also named in court during the trial of Gary Hardy as one of three "generals" who ran the drugs trade in north Notts, along with his brother John Dawes and Hardy himself.

Hardy is serving a 20-year jail term for conspiracy to supply heroin and amphetamines, money laundering and possessing criminal property. John Dawes is doing 24 years for money laundering and conspiracy to deal in drugs.

John Dawes was friends with Bestwood crime boss Colin Gunn, and the Post previously told how Hardy had held a "drug dealer's lottery" for a Mercedes car, with £1,000 tickets bought by both Colin Gunn and his brother David.

Colin Gunn is serving a minimum of 35 years for conspiracy to murder, while David Gunn was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for conspiring to supply amphetamines, before being released on parole and then sent back to prison to serve the rest of his sentence for breaching the terms of his parole.

John Dawes and his father, Arthur "Eddie" Dawes, were jailed in 2005, with Arthur Dawes receiving eight years in prison for money laundering.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

12 arrested as cocaine found among the pineapples

12 people have been arrested after a massive police anti-drugs operation using both air and land resources which was carried out Monday in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia, Madrid and Toledo.

Those arrested in Valencia port have been taken to Talavera de la Reina where the traffickers were using a warehouse as a distribution point.

200 kilos of cocaine from Costa Rica was hidden among three containers in a shipment of pineapples. Five top of the range vehicles, documents and more than 100,000 € in cash have all been impounded.

National Police in Spain say the operation was carried out in coordination with the Costa Rican authorities and started seven months ago when they discovered that a Spaniard, resident in Alicante, was trafficking in cocaine using containers sent by sea.


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Killer James Tomkins, 61, lived in exile under an assumed identity on the Costa del Sol, Spain, after the "brutal execution" of 24-year-old Rocky Dawson.

Killer James Tomkins, 61, lived in exile under an assumed identity on the Costa del Sol, Spain, after the "brutal execution" of 24-year-old Rocky Dawson.

Mr Dawson was shot several times in the back as he put the children, aged two and six, in his Fiat Punto on the drive of the family's home in Hornchurch, Essex in 2006.

After several years on the run, Tomkins, who was named as one of Britain's 10 most wanted criminals in 2008, was traced near Marbella and extradited.

He was found guilty of murder by a jury at Woolwich Crown Court.

Tomkins shot Mr Dawson from a dark-blue Land Rover Freelander vehicle which drove past as the attack took place. The children were unharmed during the incident.

Tomkins' accomplice Christopher Pearman, of Waltham Abbey, received a life sentence for the murder at the same court in 2007.

Detective Inspector Mark Lawson said: "This was a brutal execution of a totally innocent young man in what we believe to have been a case of mistaken identity.

"He was gunned down in front of his two children who were lucky to have escaped uninjured. Aged just six and two years at the time they undoubtedly still carry the scars of that fateful day in 2006.

"Despite the arrest and subsequent conviction of Christopher Pearman we knew James Tomkins was a key player in this murder.

"He sought to distance himself from the investigation by fleeing to Spain where he lived for four years. Since his extradition and return to the UK he has shown no remorse for his callous actions."

Candy Dawson, Mr Dawson's mother, added: "Rocky will always live on in our memory and our hearts."

Tomkins will be sentenced on Monday.


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