Libyan Defendant Confesses he Planned a Bomb Attack
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ A Libyan charged with planning a bomb attack testified Wednesday he planned to blow up American cars in this capital city in retaliation for the U.S. air raid on Libya last month.
Ali Ecefli Ramadan told the court his target was not the U.S. Officer’s Club, as charged in the indictment, but American vehicles parked in front of the club in a wealthy residential area.
Prosecutor Tevfik Hancilar told the court that Ramadan was saying he planned to bomb the vehicles because this carried a much lighter penalty than the charge of attempting to kill people.
Ramadan rejected the prosecutor’s claim that Libyan embassy officials helped him in the bomb plot, claiming earlier testimony implicating the officials was made under torture.
″Throughout my detention I was tortured. They gave me electricity, put me in freezing water. Thus I was forced to give this testimony,″ Ramadan told the three-member panel of judges.
A medical report submitted to the court said Ramadan and his Libyan co- defendant, Recep Muhtar Rohoma Tarhuni, had no marks of torture on their bodies but each had a bruise around one fingernail ″apparently from some trauma 20 or 30 days ago.″
Ramadan said Tarhuni, did not know about the plot and came with him thinking it was just an outing.
Ramadan, 30, and Tarhuni, 31, were captured April 18 near the club carrying a bag containing six Soviet-made hand grenades. Ramadan threw the bag away while trying to flee, police said.
Ramadan said he had another accomplice, a Libyan named Omar Mehdi, who provided the hand grenades. According to the indictment, Mehdi remained in Istanbul and left the country after the alleged bomb attack failed. Ramadan testified that he did not know where Mehdi obtained the hand grenades. Mehdi has not been charged.
The indictment says that in earlier testimony Ramadan said a Libyan embassy employee, Muhammed Shaban Hassan, had given him the grenades.
Hassan and two other Libyans, embassy security guard Abdulhadid Hadi Sadun, and Mansur Umran, director of Libyan Arab Airlines in Istanbul, were named as defendants in the indictment. Prosecutors said the three fled Turkey after the arrest of the two men.
All five defendants are charged with forming a conspiracy to kill a group of people. If convicted they would face a prison sentence of 12-20 years.
Presiding Judge Ekrem Celenk said the court will ask the Libyan government if Hassan and Sadun still are under diplomatic immunity.Celenk adjourned the trial until June 5.
The court did not act Wednesday on a second indictment, filed by prosecutor Ulku Coskun, charging Libya’s consul in Istanbul, Ali Mansur Musbah Zayyani, with taking part in the alleged bombing conspiracy. Judicial sources said Zayyani is unlikely to be tried because of his diplomatic status.
The Libyan embassy would not comment on the charges.