Belgium Frees Terror Suspects

Court finds lack of evidence to hold 14 men; country remains on high alert
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2007 4:01 PM CST
Alleged Al-Qaeda militant, Tunisian Nizar Trabelsi arrives escoted by policemen at the Brussels justice palace to introduce a summary procedure against Belgian State to protest his sentence, 30 September...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Today Belgian police released 14 men accused of plotting to break free an al-Qaeda suicide bomber, the AP reports. A court ruled there was not enough evidence to justify holding them more than 24 hours—the standard time to present evidence on a suspect in Belgium. "The police get the same time to question a terrorist as they would a shoplifter," one expert said. "It's a judicial fiasco."

Prosecutors vowed to continue the probe and said that security measures enacted nationwide after the arrests would continue. "According to our investigation there were sufficient indications pointing to a terrorist threat," a federal spokeswoman said. "That is why we did not wait to detain the suspects."