- Title: TURKEY: Militant held in Turkey judged slain Briton, says his lawyer
- Date: 21st April 2006
- Summary: POLICE VEHICLE LEAVING
- Embargoed: 6th May 2006 13:00
- Location: Turkey
- Country: Turkey
- Reuters ID: LVAALFELZYQACIS53UBLB3M04EPX
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The lawyer of a suspected al Qaeda militant now on trial in Turkey said on Thursday (April 20, 2006) that his client had taken part in the mock trial and sentencing of Kenneth Bigley, a British engineer beheaded in Iraq in 2004.
The militant, Louai al Sakka, also knows the location of Bigley's body and wants to reveal it to the Briton's family, lawyer Osman Karahan told Reuters.
Sakka, a Syrian, is charged with masterminding and securing finance for bomb attacks on Jewish and British targets in Istanbul in November 2003 which killed more than 60 people. He is believed to have escaped to Iraq after those bombings.
Karahan declined to say whether Sakka had been present at the actual execution, on October 7, 2004, or whether Sakka had executed 62-year-old Bigley himself. But he said Sakka had been assigned to Bigley's case by Iraq's al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Karahan, who wears an Islamic-style beard, provided no evidence to back up the claims, but added: "(Sakka) wants to show the location of the body to Bigley's family."
The family in Britain has appealed many times to his killers to return the body for a formal burial.
Security sources say Sakka, a bomb-making expert, was the top figure of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in Turkey.
He was caught in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir in August 2005 as he attempted to board a plane for Istanbul under an assumed name. He had undergone plastic surgery.
Turkish media have quoted him saying he had planned to carry out an attack on an Israeli cruise ship visiting Turkey.
Karahan quoted Sakka as saying he wanted Bigley's family to understand the reasons for the execution.
"These events happened because of the state of war... because of the British attitude to the occupation of Iraq," Karahan said.
He added that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had written several times to Bigley's captors but had refused to meet their demands for the Briton's release.
Karahan said; "Louai Sakka states that the real murderer of Bigley is Tony Blair."
British diplomats in the Turkish capital Ankara and in London said they were looking into Karahan's claims.
He said Britain would wait until the trial has concluded before seeking possible access to him over the claims.
The trial opened last month in Istanbul. The court tried to ban Karahan from representing Sakka as he himself has been accused of aiding and abetting al Qaeda, but Karahan said he had successfully appealed against the ban.
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